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Language intervention research in early childhood care and education: A systematic survey of the literature

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Description:
Children vary extensively in their language skills at school entry, and a substantial part of this variation is due to disparities in language exposure prior to school. Because these differences have continuing impact on academic, cognitive and social development, prevention and intervention programs have been developed to address deficits in early experience with language and prevent continuing difficulties. We report the findings from a systematic survey of research on non-parental interventions, with the goal of identifying strengths and weaknesses in current literature which can inform current practice and also guide the design of future research. Studies were identified using a systematic search protocol of the communication and language intervention literature for children from birth through 5 years of age. One hundred and ninety studies published between 1975 and 2015 met the specified inclusion criteria, which included the experimental manipulation of at least one relevant intervention variable and applying and testing an intervention or practice with the purpose of improving child communication or language outcomes. The studies reviewed include some well-documented and validated intervention strategies that have potential to be useful for addressing the word gap. This survey of the literature exposes gaps in the knowledge base about language interventions for infants and toddlers. Inadequacies in reporting the characteristics of child and adult study participants as well as a lack of details about the application of interventions across child care and early learning settings or their effectiveness with economically, culturally and linguistically diverse populations are addressed. Implications for the design and reporting of future research to address the word gap discussed. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Literature Review

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