Private Speech

So folks ask, what is private speech?

Private speech is the running commentary we have in our heads that helps to guide our behavior. When you are following a recipe, you may talk yourself through the steps. When a task is particularly challenging, the private speech may become public. We start to talk out loud to ourselves to support the action.

Children start to do this often around three years old. Think about your child working on a hard puzzle – do you hear him muttering to himself about the piece he is looking for or the plan to get started? This is his still public – private speech. As children grow, the speech gradually moves into their brain (hopefully) rather than being said out loud.

Studies show private speech benefits future behaviors. Children who mutter their way through first grade math often benefit second grade math. The idea is the language is reinforcing the learning – they are talking their way back through.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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