If you’ve ever marveled as your toddler recites every last word to Hop on Pop or Little Blue Truck, then you already know: Kids are kinda insane when it comes to memorizing books. But are they better than adults?
A recent study in Developmental Science says yes. The study followed a group of four-year-olds, their parents and a group of young adults who presumably don’t spend their evenings talking in sing-songy verses. Each group read a rhyming bedtime story (with pictures) every night for ten days.
At the end of the ten-day period, the kids, the young adults and the parents were asked to recite the story from memory (with the pictures as prompts). Everybody could remember the gist (girl stumbles on bear house, eats porridge), but the children vastly outperformed the adults when it came to verbatim memory: They remembered an average of 117 out of 167 words correctly. The adults? About 80.
So why are kids so much better at rhyming memorization? According to the researchers, before you learn to read and write, it’s your best method of transmitting information.