So its seems that the more words a child is exposed to the better their language ability is later in life. This doesn’t seem super surprising. One source of language learning, and source of lexical diversity is childrens picture books.
Children are often exposed to these types of text soon afterbirth and this early exposure has the potential to be important in language proficiency later in life. Other sources of language exposure that come from adults talking around the child also play an important role in early language learning and the diversity of the language that the adults use is also important. Its also significant to note that young children don’t actually read the books for themselves, typically an adult is reading the text to them.
In this study by Montag (2015) they took 100 children’s picture books and then went on to compare the types and quantity of words in them. It was noted that the words and vocabulary consist of more unique words than those that exist in ordinary child-directed conversation.
The question that is posed is: What might picture books provide to a Childs learning that ordinary conversations do not?
The conclude that ordinary speech pertains mostly to the here and now and there for consists of only related words. Picture books however can bring in all sorts of terms and ideas. They indicate that books can bring in exotic words not common to everyday speech. This leads to the child having a greater exposure to unique words than they would if they just listened to the every day speech of adults around them.
Montag, J. L., Jones, M. N., & Smith, L. B. (2015). The words children hear: Picture books and the statistics for language learning. Psychological Science, 1489-1496.