It all began with the 1995 landmark study by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley in their book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children:
“In four years, an average child in a professional family would accumulate experience with almost 45 million words, an average child in a working-class family 26 million words, and an average child in a welfare family 13 million words.”
More recently, Stanford University researchers have observed that these differences emerge as early as 18 months. The effects persist through the school years. The good news: if parents increase the quantity and quality of their verbal interactions, their babies benefit. Many organizations are tackling the issue and resources are developing all the time.
Items are organized by the following topics:
- Why the 30 million word gap is so important (Abbe Hensley’s blog) November 18, 2013
- Picture books build vocabulary; early vocabulary key to success
- Don’t Just Talk. Listen to Your Baby Too. – Lisa Guernsey, director of the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative
- We Can’t Talk Too Much – a short video on YouTube
- “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3,” by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley – a brief explanation of the findings in their landmark book, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children
- The Role of Parent-Child Verbal Interaction in Language and Literacy Development – from The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
- Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find – Low-income children show achievement gaps in language development as early as 18 months.
- New Research on Early Disparities – Overview of research with additional resources for teachers and families by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- 12 Ways to Support Language Development for Infants and Toddlers – from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Social Interaction Provides Key to Infant Language Learning – “You, the parent or caregiver, are the best toy in the room,” from the University of Washington
- The Word Gap – “it’s not just more words,” on the Shanker Blog from the Albert Shanker Institute
- More than Baby Talk – 10 Ways to Promote the Language and Communication Skills of Infants and Toddlers from The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute