(CNN) - If you're a parent of an infant, you probably can't wait to hear those first words. Usually, babies speak when they're about one year old. But new research says they're actually ready to speak much younger than you think.
This new research says that babies are actually practicing in their brains how to say their first words way before they actually utter them. This study was done at the University of Washington. Researchers looked at how the brains of 57 babies processed languages. They found that as early as seven months their brains were stimulated when they heard the voice of a parent -- and that the babies were already rehearsing how to speak back.
One of the researchers says at this point as the motor areas of the baby's brain are developing their brains are "dying to talk back" -- even if they're not physically able to form the words yet. They say the speech development is a combination of three factors: sensory experience, motor activity and social interaction.
Researchers say the study reinforces the need to read to your child early and often -- not just parking them in front of the TV.