Tag Archives: child development experts

Parent homework: Working on vocabulary with your child

28 Dec

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Students Must Learn More Words, Say Studies:
Children who enter kindergarten with a small vocabulary don’t get taught enough words—particularly, sophisticated academic words—to close the gap, according to the latest in a series of studies by Michigan early-learning experts.

The findings suggest many districts could be at a disadvantage in meeting the increased requirements for vocabulary learning from the Common Core State Standards, said study co-author Susan B. Neuman, a professor in educational studies specializing in early-literacy development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“Vocabulary is the tip of the iceberg: Words reflect concepts and content that students need to know,” Ms. Neuman said. “This whole common core will fall on its face if kids are not getting the kind of instruction it will require.”
In an ongoing series of studies of early-grades vocabulary instruction, Ms. Neuman and co-author Tanya S. Wright, an assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, analyzed how kindergarten educators choose and teach new words, both in the instruction that teachers give and in basal-reading books.
Ms. Neuman and Ms. Wright found limited vocabulary instruction across the board, but students in poverty—the ones prior research shows enter school knowing 10,000 fewer words than their peers from higher-income families—were the least likely to get instruction in academically challenging words….
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20vocabulary_ep.h32.html?tkn=TLTF%2FlDuqB%2FKs%2B82qVsjhV33xVxvOw8%2BeiQ7&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

There are methods that parents can use to improve their child’s vocabulary.

Lauren Lawry of the Hanen Centre wrote in the article, Build Your Child’s Vocabulary:

A recent study about vocabulary
However, it’s not just about how much you say, but also about what words you use that makes a difference to a child’s vocabulary. In a 2012 study, Meredith Rowe looked at the factors that contribute most to a child’s later vocabulary development. She studied the vocabulary of 50 young children when they were 18, 30, 42, and 54 months of age, as well as the amount (quantity) and type (quality) of words the parents used with their children. She found certain factors that contributed to a child’s vocabulary one year later, such as the parents’ education and the child’s previous vocabulary. But some of her most interesting findings were that:
• children’s vocabulary at 30 months was influenced by the quantity (number) of words a parent used one year earlier – This means that children aged 12-24 months benefit from hearing lots of talk and many examples of words.

• children’s vocabulary at 42 months was influenced by parents’ use of a variety of sophisticated words one year earlier – Children aged 24-36 months have learned a lot of common vocabulary, and are ready to learn more difficult words, such as “purchase” instead of “buy”, or “weary” instead of “tired”.

• children’s vocabulary at 54 months was influenced by parents’ use of narratives (talking about things that happened in the past or in the future) and explanations one year earlier – Children aged 36-48 months benefit from conversations about things that happened in the past (e.g. an outing they went on, something funny that happened at preschool, etc.) or something that is planned for the near future (e.g. a trip to see Grandma) is helpful. And providing explanations about things (e.g. answering children’s “why” questions) is also helpful at this age.
Rowe concluded that “quantity…is not the whole story” and that these other influences also have an impact on children’s vocabulary [2, p. 1771]. This is important information, as much literature that advises parents about children’s speech and language development encourages parents to talk to young children as much as possible (quantity). But Rowe’s study highlights the importance of quality, especially for children aged 24-48 months. Parents should try to keep one step ahead of their child – modelling words and concepts that are slightly beyond their child’s level to help his vocabulary grow.
How to help your child learn new words
From Rowe’s study, we know that:
• young children (12-24 month olds) benefit from exposure to lots of words (quantity)
• toddlers (24-36 months) benefit from hearing a variety of sophisticated words
• preschool children (36-48 months) benefit from conversations about past and future events as well as explanations
This tells us what to say, but what about how to say it?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when modeling new vocabulary for your child:
• Follow your child’s lead – This means emphasizing words that come up during everyday conversations and interactions with your child. If you talk about what interests your child, it is more likely your child will pay attention and learn a new word. If your child is interested in playing with cars, you can model words like “push”, “beep beep”, or “fast” with a young child or more complicated words like “mechanic”, “speed”, or “traffic” with a toddler. You can provide explanations for preschoolers like “he needs to get a new tire because his tire is flat”, talk about events in the past such as “remember when we had to take our car in to be repaired?”, or events that will happen in the future such as “Our car is dirty. Maybe we should go to the car wash.”

• Children need to hear a word several times before they start to use it – This means that you might use a word with your child many times before your child actually says the word himself. Children’s understanding of words precedes their use of words. So, they will understand far more words than they can actually say. If you repeat words for your child on different occasions, it will give him more opportunities to hear and learn new words.

• Don’t bombard your child with words – Just because quantity is important at some stages of development, this doesn’t mean that you should shower your child with constant talk. You should aim for a balanced conversation between you and your child – you say something, then your child says or does something, and so on. It is important to wait after you say something so you give your child a chance to respond in his own way.

• Help your child understand what a new word means – By giving details about new words or explaining what words means, you build your child’s understanding of new words. For example, if you are playing with cars and introduce the word “passenger”, you might say something like “a passenger is someone who rides in a car or a bus or a train. A passenger goes for the ride but doesn’t drive the car or the bus.” Relating new words to your child’s personal experiences also helps him connect with new words. For example, if you are talking about the word “nervous,” you might say something like “Remember when you started preschool – you felt nervous. But eventually when you were more comfortable there, you didn’t feel nervous anymore.”

• Actions can speak louder than words – If you accompany your words with actions, gestures, or facial expressions, it will help your child understand the meaning of the words. For example, when modeling the word “weary”, you could do a sleeping action (hands under your head) or yawn so that your child understands what the word means. Your voice can also add meaning to a word. For example, if you say the word “frightened” or “terrified” with a shaky voice that sounds like you are scared, it will help your child understand what you mean.

The bottom line… it’s not just how much you say, but also what you say and how you say it that makes a difference for your child’s vocabulary growth….
References
1. Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.
2. Rowe, M. (2012). A Longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Quantity and Quality of Child-Directed Speech in Vocabulary Development. Child Development: 83(5), 1762-1774.
3. Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
The Hanen Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Build-your-childs-vocabulary.aspx#.UrykA9eToC8.email

There are still more suggestions from Deanna Swallow in a North Shore Pediatric Therapy article.

Swallow wrote in 10 Ways to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary:

1. Create language-rich environments to encourage new vocabulary. This might include a trip to the zoo, a seasonal craft, or a fun picture-book. Introduce age-appropriate vocabulary to your child through a fun and memorable experience.
2. Use kid-friendly terms to explain new words. For example, if you are teaching your child what ”zebra” means, avoid a dictionary definition such as: a horse-like African mammal of the genus Equus . Instead, try a simple explanation: a zebra is an animal. It looks like a horse. Zebras have black and white stripes.
3. Encourage your child to brainstorm their own examples of new vocabulary words. For example, if the new word is “little”, you might encourage your child by saying “Can you think of a little animal?”
4. Practice sorting new vocabulary. Encourage your child to describe, sort and categorize vocabulary based on various features. You might think of “3 cold things”, “3 animals” or “3 things that take you places.”
5. Think of synonyms and antonyms. Encourage your child to think of substitute words (e.g. “can you think of another word for enormous?… big!”) or opposite words (e.g. “What is the opposite of hot?… cold!”).
6. Give your child opportunities to practice their new vocabulary words. If you recently enjoyed an outing at the zoo, you might print out digital pictures from the trip. Throughout the following week, enjoy looking at the pictures with your child and remembering what animals you saw. You might also read a picture-book about animals or zoos (“What is this animal called?” or “Can you find a tiger in this picture?”).
7. Introduce new vocabulary words ahead of time. Holidays, seasons, and special outings are all excellent occasions to introduce new words. For example, as Fall approaches you might choose 10 new words about Fall (e.g. pumpkin, Autumn, cool, leaves, apples, jacket, etc). Plan a fun craft that incorporates those new words. You might make play-doh shapes using vocabulary words, draw new words with sidewalk chalk, or search for words in a picture book or magazine.
8. Tap into other senses. Children learn best when information is presented through multiple senses (e.g. touch, sight, sound, smell). To tap into the various, you might have your child stomp to each syllable of new vocabulary words (el-a-phant), draw a picture of the word, or act out the meaning.
9. Encourage older kids to use strategies to remember new vocabulary. They might keep a “vocabulary flashcard box” that includes challenging words from chapter-books, their school curriculum, or new concepts encountered in their environment. Encourage your child to define vocabulary in their own words, and draw a picture to represent it. You might also brainstorm root words or word derivations (e.g. run, running).
10. Avoid vocabulary over-load. Try not to teach too many new words at one time. For example, if you are reading a book with your child, avoid explaining every unfamiliar vocabulary word. Instead, just stick with a few important words. As much as possible, learning should be motivating and stimulate curiosity. Follow your child’s lead, and explore concepts or words that they find interesting. Look for cues that they might feel overwhelmed or frustrated…. http://nspt4kids.com/parenting/10-ways-to-build-your-childs-vocabulary/

Parents must spend time with their children preparing them for beginning their education.
All About Learning Press has a checklist to help parents focus on issues which prepare their child.

All About Learning Press makes several suggestions in Checklist: Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Read?

Perhaps your child already knows the alphabet and loves read-aloud time—but how can you tell if your child is ready to begin formal reading instruction? Fill out the checklist below and evaluate your child’s reading readiness!
Letter Knowledge
[ ] Your child can recite the alphabet song.
[ ] Your child recognizes the capital letters. If you ask your child to point to an m, he can do it.
[ ] Your child recognizes the lowercase letters.
Print Awareness
[ ] Your child knows the proper way to hold a book.
[ ] Your child understands that books are read from cover to back.
[ ] Your child understands that sentences are read from left to right.
[ ] Your child knows that words on the page can be read.
Listening Comprehension
[ ] Your child is able to retell a familiar story in his own words.
[ ] Your child can answer simple questions about a story.
[ ] Your child asks questions (Why did the elephant laugh?) during read-alouds.
Phonological Awareness
[ ] Your child can rhyme. If you say bat, your child can come up with a rhyming word like hat.
[ ] Your child understands word boundaries. If you say the sentence Don’t let the cat out, your child is able to separate the sentence into five individual words.
[ ] Your child can clap syllables. If you say dog, your child knows to clap once. If you say umbrella, your child knows to clap three times.
[ ] Your child can blend sounds to make a word. If you say the sounds sh…eep, your child responds with the word sheep.
[ ] Your child can identify the beginning sound in a word. If you ask your child to say the first sound in pig, your child is able to respond with the sound /p/.
[ ] Your child can identify the ending sound in a word. If you ask your child to say the last sound in the word jam, your child is able to respond with the sound /m/.
Motivation to Read
Use your intuition to understand if your child is motivated to begin reading. The following are all signs that your child is motivated to read and has achieved the understanding that reading is fun.
[ ] Does your child enjoy being read to, at least for short periods of time?
[ ] Does your child pretend to read or write?
[ ] Does your child frequently request read-aloud time and show a general enthusiasm for books?
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/is-your-child-ready-to-learn-to-read

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

Resources:

Reading Rockets http://www.readingrockets.org/helping/target/vocabulary

For the Love of Words http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=8100

Raising Readers: Tips for Parents
http://www.cedu.niu.edu/ltcy/literacyclinic/raisingReaders/ReadingVocabulary.pdf

School-age Readers http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/reading_schoolage.html

Ready to Learn http://pbskids.org/readytolearn/

Related:

Baby sign language https://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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Stanford University study: Affluent children have better vocabulary and language skills

22 Oct

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Motoko Rich reported in the New York Times article, Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K:

Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.
Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate.
The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.
The new findings, although based on a small sample, reinforced the earlier research showing that because professional parents speak so much more to their children, the children hear 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income households, early literacy experts, preschool directors and pediatricians said. In the new study, the children of affluent households came from communities where the median income was $69,000; the low-income children came from communities with a median income of $23,900.
Since oral language and vocabulary are so connected to reading comprehension, the most disadvantaged children face increased challenges once they enter school and start learning to read.
“That gap just gets bigger and bigger,” said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, an advocate of early education for low-income children. “That gap is very real and very hard to undo….”
But at a time when a majority of public schoolchildren in about a third of the states come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation, those who are pushing for higher preschool enrollment say that investing in the youngest children could save public spending later on.
In the latest data available from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, 28 percent of all 4-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in state-financed preschool in the 2010-11 school year, and just 4 percent of 3-year-olds.
The National Governors Association, in a report this month calling on states to ensure that all children can read proficiently by third grade, urges lawmakers to increase access to high-quality child care and prekindergarten classes and to invest in programs for children from birth through age 5. In New York, the Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has said he would tax high-income earners to pay for universal prekindergarten in the city.
“A lot of states are saying, ‘Let’s get to the early care providers and get more of them having kids come into kindergarten ready,’ ” said Richard Laine, director of education for the National Governors Association. That way, he said, “we’re not waiting until third grade and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we have so many kids overwhelming our remediation system.’ ”
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have policies requiring that third graders be held back if they do not meet state reading proficiency standards, according to theEducation Commission of the States.
Now, with the advent of the Common Core, a set of rigorous reading and math standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, educators say the pressure to prepare young children is growing more intense.
Literacy experts have previously documented a connection between a child’s early vocabulary and later success in reading comprehension. In a study tracking children from age 3 through middle school, David Dickinson, now a professor of education at Vanderbilt University, and Catherine Snow, an education professor at Harvard University, found that a child’s score on a vocabulary test in kindergarten could predict reading comprehension scores in later grades.
Mr. Dickinson said he feared that some preschool teachers or parents might extract the message about the importance of vocabulary and pervert it. “The worst thing that could come out of all this interest in vocabulary,” he said, “is flash cards with pictures making kids memorize a thousand words.”
Instead, literacy experts emphasize the importance of natural conversations with children, asking questions while reading books, and helping children identify words during playtime.
Even these simple principles may be hard to implement, some educators say, because preschool instructors are often paid far less than public schoolteachers and receive scant training. In one study, Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, found that in observations of 700 preschool classrooms across 11 states, teachers in less than 15 percent of the classes demonstrated “effective teacher-student interactions.”
“There is a lot of wishful thinking about how easy it is, that if you just put kids in any kind of program that this will just happen,” said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, referring to the development of strong vocabularies and other preliteracy skills.
Literacy experts and publishing companies are rushing to develop materials for teachers. Scholastic Inc., the children’s book publisher, for example, began selling the Big Day for Pre-K program to preschools three years ago. Collections of books come with specific question prompts like “I see a yellow taxi. What do you see?”
Educators and policy makers say they also must focus increasingly on parents……
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/us/language-gap-study-bolsters-a-push-for-pre-k.html?ref=education&_r=0

Here is the Stanford University press release:

Stanford Report, September 25, 2013
Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find
Research by Stanford psychologists reveals that 2-year-old children of lower-income families may already be six months behind in language development. Future work aims to devise intervention methods.
BY BJORN CAREY
Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.
Stanford researchers have now found that these socioeconomic status (SES) differences begin to emerge much earlier in life: By 18 months of age, toddlers from disadvantaged families are already several months behind more advantaged children in language proficiency.
The study, published in Developmental Science, is the first to identify an “achievement gap” in language processing skill at such a young age and could inform strategies to intervene and bring children up to speed.
In an experiment designed to investigate children’s vocabulary and language processing speed,Anne Fernald, a Stanford associate professor of psychology, enrolled 20 children, 18 months old, who lived near the Stanford campus, and tested how quickly and accurately they identified objects based on simple verbal cues. Follow-up tests six months later measured how these skills developed.
Research conducted in university laboratories commonly relies on a “convenience sample” of local participants who are usually affluent and highly educated. Since children in these higher SES families have many other advantages as well, the results of such research do not represent the majority of children living in less privileged circumstances in the United States.
To include a broader range of children in her research, Fernald took her lab on the road. She duplicated the experimental setup of her Stanford-based lab in a 30-feet-long RV and drove to a city a few hours north of campus, where the median household income and education levels are much lower on average than in the Bay Area.
The researchers recruited another 28 toddlers, aged roughly 18 months, from this lower SES population and performed the same experiments as they had on campus. Then they retested the children six months later when they turned 2 years old to see how they had progressed.
The beginning of the language gap
Fernald has devised an elegant test for measuring toddlers’ language processing speed. Sitting on their mother’s lap, the kids are shown two images; for example, a dog and a ball. A recorded voice then instructs the toddler to “look at the ball” while a high-definition video camera records the child’s reaction.
Trained “coders” then review the video frame by frame and note the exact moment that a child’s gaze begins to shift toward the target object. In this way, toddlers’ efficiency in language understanding can be measured with millisecond-level precision.
At 18 months, toddlers in the higher SES group could identify the correct object in about 750 milliseconds, while the lower SES toddlers were 200 milliseconds slower to respond.
“A 200-millisecond difference in response time at 18 months may not sound like much, but it’s huge in terms of mental processing speed,” Fernald said.
Both groups of children got faster with age, but at 24 months the lower SES children just barely reached the level of processing efficiency that the higher SES children had achieved at 18 months.
The researchers also asked parents to report on their children’s vocabularies at these age points. Between 18 and 24 months, the higher SES children added more than 260 new words to their vocabulary, while the lower SES children learned 30 percent fewer new words over this period.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
Kids learn from context
Fernald suggests that slower processing rates are partly responsible for slower vocabulary growth in the early years. Toddlers learn new vocabulary from context, and the faster a child can get at the words she knows, the more able she is to attend to the next word in the sentence and to learn any new words that follow.
“If you say ‘the dog is on the sofa,’ and the baby at 18 months is slow to process ‘dog,’ they’re not open for business when ‘sofa’ comes along,” Fernald said. “If they’re quick on ‘dog’ and understand that the dog is on something, but don’t know what it is, the faster kids are more likely to learn ‘sofa’ from the context.”
This link between early processing speed and language learning is supported by other results from Fernald’s research group. In studies following both English- and Spanish-learning toddlers over several years, they found that children who are faster at recognizing familiar words at 18 months have larger vocabularies at age 2 years and score higher on standardized tests of language and cognition in kindergarten and elementary school.
Seeking a solution
Where do such early differences among children come from? One critical factor is that parents differ in the amount of language stimulation they provide to their infants. Several studies show that parents who talk more with their children in an engaging and supportive way have kids who are more likely to develop their full intellectual potential than kids who hear very little child-directed speech.
“For lots of reasons, there is generally less supportive talk to children in families living in poverty, which could partially explain the SES differences we found in children’s early processing skill and vocabulary learning,” Fernald said.
In previous research on caregivers’ speech to Spanish-learning children, Fernald’s group found big differences in levels of parental engagement even within a disadvantaged group of families. Those lower SES kids who heard more child-directed talk got faster in processing and learned language more rapidly.
“It’s clear that SES is not destiny,” Fernald said. “The good news is that regardless of economic circumstances, parents who use more and richer language with their infants can help their child to learn more quickly.” http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/september/toddler-language-gap-091213.html

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters http://www.nytimes.com/national/class/

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement. http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

Related:

Baby sign language https://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Chicago study: Giving nonverbal clues can boost a child’s vocabulary

26 Jun

 

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

 

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?

 

Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:

 

  1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.

  2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.

  3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

 

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning.

 

Alexandra Sifferlin writes in the Time article, Building Kids’ Vocabulary Doesn’t Have to Involve Words:

 

 

The stronger a child’s vocabulary, the more successful she tends to be in school, and new research shows that the word-building can begin before kids start talking.

 

Child development experts have long advised parents to talk to their babies, even if their infants can’t talk back. The more a parent talks to his child, the more words they are likely to learn. Now comes new work suggesting that even non-verbal cues such as pointing to objects can encourage vocabulary building regardless of socioeconomic status. It’s not just the quantity of words spoken, then, that’s important but the quality of the learning environment that may make the greatest difference.

 

To come to this conclusion, researchers from the University of Chicago videotaped the daily interactions of 50 parents and their toddlers over two 90-minute sessions when the kids were 14 months to 18 months. In order to tease apart the parents who used non-verbal cues from those who relied more on verbal communication, the researchers bleeped out a key word from 10 randomly selected 40-second clips of these recordings. They asked another 218 adults to watch these clips and guess which word the parent was saying at the beep.

 

The scientists then defined those situations in which the participants were easily able to determine the word — for example, guessing that the recorded parent was saying “book” if he said it while the child was walking to a bookshelf — as involving non-verbal cues, and classified the environments in which it was harder to guess the missing word as being primarily verbal ones.

 

Most of the parents used non-verbal cues from 5% to 38% of the time. Three years later, about the time the youngsters entered kindergarten, the researchers assessed their vocabularies and found that children with the biggest vocabularies also had parents whose beeped-out words were more easily deduced in the recording clips. Giving new words context with non-verbal cues could explain about 22% of the difference in vocabularies among children whose parents used them v. those who did not….: http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/26/building-kids-vocabulary-doesnt-have-to-involve-words/#ixzz2XOXWqAmF

 

Here is the press release from the University of Chicago:

 

Giving children non-verbal clues about words boosts vocabularies

 

By William Harms

June 24, 2013

The clues that parents give toddlers about words can make a big difference in how deep their vocabularies are when they enter school, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

By using words to reference objects in the visual environment, parents can help young children learn new words, according to the research. It also explores the difficult-to-measure quality of non-verbal clues to word meaning during interactions between parents and children learning to speak. For example, saying, “There goes the zebra” while visiting the zoo helps a child learn the word “zebra” faster than saying, “Let’s go to see the zebra.”

Differences in the quality of parents’ non-verbal clues to toddlers (what children can see when their parents are talking) explain about a quarter (22 percent) of the differences in those same children’s vocabularies when they enter kindergarten, researchers found.

The results are reported in the paper, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.         

Children’s vocabularies vary greatly in size by the time they enter school,” said lead author Erica Cartmill, a postdoctoral scholar at UChicago. “Because preschool vocabulary is a major predictor of subsequent school success, this variability must be taken seriously and its sources understood.”

Scholars have found that the number of words youngsters hear greatly influences their vocabularies. Parents with higher socioeconomic status—those with higher income and more education—typically talk more to their children and accordingly boost their vocabularies, research has shown.

That advantage for higher-income families doesn’t show up in the quality research, however.

What was surprising in this study was that social economic status did not have an impact on quality. Parents of lower social economic status were just as likely to provide high-quality experiences for their children as were parents of higher status,” said co-author Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at UChicago.  

Although scholars have amassed impressive evidence that the number of words children hear—the quantity of their linguistic input—has an impact on vocabulary development, measuring the quality of the verbal environment—including non-verbal clues to word meaning—has proved much more difficult.

To measure quality, the research team reviewed videotapes of everyday interactions between 50 primary caregivers, almost all mothers, and their children (14 to 18 months old). The mothers and children, from a range of social and economic backgrounds, were taped for 90-minute periods as they went about their days, playing and engaging in other activities.

The team then showed 40-second vignettes from these videotapes to 218 adults with the sound track muted. Based on the interaction between the child and parent, the adults were asked to guess what word the parent in each vignette used when a beep was sounded on the tape.

A beep might occur, for instance, in a parent’s silenced speech for the word “book” as a child approaches a bookshelf or brings a book to the mother to start storytime. In this scenario, the word was easy to guess because the mother labeled objects as the child saw and experienced them. In other tapes, viewers were unable to guess the word that was beeped during the conversation, as there were few immediate clues to the meaning of the parent’s words. Vignettes containing words that were easy to guess provided high-quality clues to word meaning.

Although there were no differences in the quality of the interactions based on parents’ backgrounds, the team did find significant individual differences among the parents studied. Some parents provided non-verbal clues about words only 5 percent of the time, while others provided clues 38 percent of the time, the study found.

The study also found that the number of words parents used was not related to the quality of the verbal exchanges. “Early quantity and quality accounted for different aspects of the variance found in the later vocabulary outcome measure,” the authors wrote. In other words, how much parents talk to their children (quantity), and how parents use words in relation to the non-verbal environment (quality) provided different kinds of input into early language development.

However, parents who talk more are, by definition, offering their children more words, and the more words a child hears, the more likely it will be for that child to hear a particular word in a high-quality learning situation,” they added. This suggests that higher-income families’ vocabulary advantage comes from a greater quantity of input, which leads to a greater number of high-quality word-learning opportunities. Making effective use of non-verbal cues may be a good way for parents to get their children started on the road to language.

Joining Cartmill and Goldin-Meadow as authors were University of Pennsylvania scholars Lila Gleitman, professor emerita of psychology; John Trueswell, professor of psychology; Benjamin Armstrong, a research assistant; and Tamara Medina, assistant professor of psychology at Drexel University.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

– See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

 

Citation:

 

Social Sciences – Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

 

  • Erica A. Cartmill,

  • Benjamin F. Armstrong III,

  • Lila R. Gleitman,

  • Susan Goldin-Meadow,

  • Tamara N. Medina,

  • and John C. Trueswell

 

Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary 3 years later PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print June 24, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1309518110

 

…10.1073/pnas.1309518110 Erica A. Cartmill Benjamin F. Armstrong III Lila…PDF) Supporting Information Cartmill et al. 10.1073/pnas…and working our way down until Cartmill et al. http://www.pnas.org/cgi…

 

 

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:

 

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved.  Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters

 

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html

 

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd

 

https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

 


Related:

 

 

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

 

The slow reading movement                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

 

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important                              https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

 

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better                                                                                   https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

 

 

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