Something unusual and wonderful is happening with African-American babies.
Black toddlers who are good at telling stories are more likely to have strong reading skills in kindergarten, according to new research from the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Surprisingly, the same link doesn't exist when it comes to white, Latino, or Asian children.
"Oral storytelling has been an important part of the histories of many peoples, and an especially rich aspect of the black culture across the African diaspora," Iheoma Iruka, director of research and evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and one of the researchers for the study, said in a statement.
African-American children are particularly adept at telling complex narratives of many types, added FPG researcher Nicole Gardner-Neblett, who led the study.
"Having a repertoire of different styles suggests that African-American children are flexible in their narratives, varying the narratives according to context," she said. "This flexibility may benefit African-American children as they transition from using oral language to the decoding and comprehension of written text."