For example, research on the play behaviors of low-SES and mid- SES SES and input both related to children's later vocabulary scores. over the course of a year when their preschool teachers' speech was more grammatically complex. the relation between SES and child vocabulary development. By age three, children from lower income families may hear up to 30 million On February 14, , at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science Talking to Children Nurtures Language Development Across SES The results indicate that exposure to child-directed speech—as. vocabulary development of low SES children are: directed speech and interac+ on. • Richness of more advanced to parents and teachers than children at.
Additionally, while there are differences in quantity and quality of input—and subsequent learning—between SES groups, differences have also been found within SES groups.
Research on child-directed speech CDS has provided answers to this question, although much of this work has not addressed SES-related variation. The unification of these literatures offers a fruitful direction for future research. Second, we overview research on specific characteristics of CDS that seem to matter most for learning sounds, words, and sentences. Differences in amount of talk also correlated with SES: They found that the average child living in a professional-class family heard significantly more affirmations i.
Rowe found that SES was related to both quantity and quality measures, with more highly educated parents using more word tokens and word types, as well as more rare words and more of some types of decontextualized utterances.
In learning the basic rules of clause formation, Vasilyeva and colleagues found that children from different SES groups showed no systematic variation in terms of age of acquisition or in the proportion of sentences used correctly. By 18 months, group-level differences in vocabulary knowledge and language processing efficiency i.
While the focus on differences between higher- and lower-SES groups has been important for unearthing social disparities in language learning, this focus has clouded the essential— even hopeful—finding that variability in input and learning exists within narrower SES ranges.
In a sample of families from a middle-class neighborhood, Huttenlocher and colleagues showed early evidence of the relations between maternal talk and child vocabulary. That is, children from low-SES families whose mothers spoke to them using more complex language at 18 months were significantly faster in a real-time comprehension task at 24 months.
Group differences suggest that higher-quantity and higher-quality language is more likely to be used in the homes of higher-SES parents, but critically, many lower-SES parents do offer enriching language environments to their children.
Yet in order to determine how learning can best be improved between and within higher- and lower-SES groups, it is important to narrow in on specific characteristics of input that directly influence learning. Given that hearing more CDS has been linked to more successful language development, 14 determining which features of CDS drive successful learning will be important for promoting better language outcomes.
One particularly defining feature of CDS is its prosody. There are clear prosodic differences between CDS and ADS, such as higher pitch, exaggerated vowels, and final-word lengthening see reviews by Cristia 18 and Soderstrom Maternal speech clarity in CDS seems to be important for phonological development.
In one study, 1- to 4-month-old infants were able to detect phonemic differences between subtly distinct syllable sequences with contrastive middle syllables e. In one study, 6. Prosodic and sound-level characteristics of CDS may also help infants find grammatical units.
That is, infants show a preference for listening to CDS, and greater attention to this speech register may engender more successful detection of relevant structure. In addition to prosodic and sound-level features, CDS includes a number of structural features at the level of words and sentences that likely aid young children in their language learning, such as short utterances and repetition.
Researchers have also found that repetition and partial repetition of utterances is a defining structural feature of CDS. Partial repetition also supports the learning of new words. Researchers assessed this type-token ratio in maternal speech with 7-month-old infants, and found that it predicted vocabulary scores when the children were 2 years old. Kuhl and colleagues found that 9-month-old English-learning infants displayed sensitivity to non-native phonetic contrasts i.
Social factors also support early speech production: They play a role in eliciting CDS from caregivers. And children were more likely to produce speech-related vocalizations if an adult had responded to their previous speech-related vocalization. Some studies show that while younger infants 4—6 months show a preference for listening to CDS over ADS, infants older than 7 months do not. But during the second and third years of life, the usefulness of CDS for language learning might become less important.
It is important to keep in mind that infants are also active participants in their own language learning i. Having to deal with insufficient resources, such as money or time, requires vigilance and incessant juggling, thereby capturing mental resources at the expense of other aspects of life. Specifically, children at the lower end of the SES spectrum tend to receive significantly less high-quantity and high-quality language experience, which affects their development of vocabulary, grammar, and language processing.
The implications of these findings are a clear public health concern.
What Does the Research Say About Vocabulary?
In the United States alone, Doing so will help us better understand and intervene on individual differences in early language learning. When in development do features of CDS most powerfully exert their influence on different aspects of language learning, and how do these processes vary across the SES spectrum?
This multidisciplinary research effort will address two interrelated objectives: Footnotes Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article. Scores on the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory of children from low and middle-income families. Hart B, Risley TR. Weisleder A, Fernald A. It is no easy task to build background knowledge in students who enter our classrooms with few academic experiences from other classrooms or from real-world involvement.
Background knowledge is a reflection of who they are; it is the lens through which they see the world. Those students from low-income families see school in a different light.
Language learning, socioeconomic status, and child-directed speech
School may be a place to be safe when home is not. School may be inconsequential to those who believe their "street smarts" will get them farther in life than school smarts. School may feel dangerous to some students whose parents identify school as a place where they felt stupid or unappreciated.
Many students from impoverished backgrounds enter school with little knowledge of a world outside the streets where they live.
If their poverty was pervasive throughout their short lives, factors such as lack of nutrition or exposure to toxins may have stunted the growth of their brains, which affects their cognitive abilities Perry, According to educational research by Hart and Risleychildren enter school with "meaningful differences. What made a big difference among students was economics. In their book, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American ChildrenHart and Risley state, "by age 3 the children in professional families would have heard more than 30 million words, the children in working class families 20 million, and the children in welfare families 10 million" p.
Interestingly, although the number of words spoken was different, the topics and the style of speech were similar. The parents who spoke to their children more began to ask questions, vary their vocabulary, and in general offered the kids a rich language experience.
In addition to counting the number of words that were spoken to the children, Hart and Risley also examined the types of reinforcement the children received.
The number of affirmative statements as opposed to prohibitory statements was tallied for each socioeconomic group. The professional parents offered affirmative feedback much more often every other minute than the other groups.
The welfare parents gave their children more than twice as many prohibitions as the professional parents. Some children in professional families heard different words and questions in the three hours the parent spoke most. Another child from a low-income family heard fewer than different words and 38 questions in that same amount of time.
The results of the study lead all to believe that the single-most important component of child care is the amount of talking occurring between child and caregiver. The number of words students learn varies greatly: Between grades 1 and 3, it is expected that economically disadvantaged students' vocabularies increase by about 3, words per year, while middle-class students' vocabularies increase by about 5, words per year. Children's vocabulary size approximately doubles between grades 3 and 7.
More recent research added pertinent information to vocabulary development.
Marc Borstein of the National Institutes of Health approached the topic of vocabulary development in a different way. They compared maternal responsiveness in children who all came from professional families, with interesting results. Remember that the children from professional families heard 30 million words by age 3. The study found that the average child spoke his or her first words by 13 months and by 18 months had a vocabulary of about 50 words. Mothers who were considered high responders—that is, they responded to their child's speech quickly and often—had children who were clearly 6 months ahead of the children whose mothers were low responders.
Poverty, the Brain, and Vocabulary Students from low-income families are part of the at-risk population who have heard fewer words and may have brains that are not as cognitively efficient for some of the work ahead of them in school and in life. Research supports the need for these students to have some extra resources. The remarkable ability of the brain to change has been seen in students with many different kinds of deficits.
Poverty can cause physical differences in the brain as well as behavioral differences Jensen, According to Harristhree areas drive school behavior: A desire for reliable relationships. Much research looks at the teacher-student relationship as a driving force for motivation, socialization, and academic performance. A desire for social acceptance by peers.
In order for students to seek academic achievement, it must be socially acceptable to achieve it. Your school must create a culture that supports and encourages good academic behavior. A desire for social status. Students want to feel special. The emotional brain contains an affective filter that will allow information to go to higher levels of thinking under the right conditions.
Chapter 1. What Does the Research Say About Vocabulary?
Negative feelings, lack of social status, and low peer acceptance will keep the brain focused on these and prevent cognitive function. Several areas of the brain are different in low-income and middle-income students.
Using the work of Farah, Noble, and Hurtwe can examine five systems that are responsible for overall school functioning: The executive system, which engages the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This structure is crucial to working memory, future planning, delaying gratification, and decision making.
The language system, which involves the temporal and frontal lobes of the left hemisphere. This system is our reading system and contains the structures that allow students to decode, pronounce, and comprehend.
The memory system, which allows students to process semantic learning text, lecture, pictures, etc. This system is responsible for one-trial learning and the ability to retain a representation of a stimulus after a single exposure to it. Our emotional center and our memory center are next to each other, which explains why emotions influence our memories. The cognitive system, which includes our visual spatial abilities and our problem-solving capabilities of the parietal lobe. This system is vital to sequencing, organizing, and visualizing.
The visual cognitive system, which allows students to recognize patterns, remember images, and abstract information. The results of testing these systems in several studies remained fairly constant. The lower the socioeconomic status, the more difficulty the students had performing tasks involving these systems.
Most noticeable were the memory system issues and the language system issues. The group tested middle school students and primary students with the same results.
These issues affect not only school performance, but life performance as well. As researchers continue to study the effects of poverty on academic performance, they know there are a myriad of possible causes of these issues. It is not the purpose of this book to delve into those causes.
I will suggest that most research examines prenatal toxins, maternal stress, lack of proper nutrition, living in toxic areas, maternal education, and the amount of language and literacy in the home. Improving the Systems Because the brain is malleable and these systems can change, researchers have made several suggestions to improve the brain systems of low-SES children.
Gazzaniga, Asbury, and Rich suggest the arts can improve cognitive skills, processing, attention, and sequencing. Pereira and colleagues suggest physical activity as an avenue to produce new brain cells, which has been associated with increasing learning and memory.
Computer instruction in which students identify, count, and remember objects by holding them in working memory can increase working memory within a matter of weeks, according to Klingberg and colleagues Training in music can improve the brain's operating systems as it enhances focused attention, which will assist in memory Jonides, The arts, movement, computer use, and music are some of the strategies that will be helpful in teaching all of our students the vocabulary of the standards.
Understanding and being aware of some of the challenges that our at-risk students face will help us to focus our vocabulary teaching in a way that will improve the minds and memories of our students. Tier 1 words consist of basic words.
These words usually do not have multiple meanings and do not require explicit instruction.How to increase your vocabulary
Sight words, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and early reading words occur at this level. Examples of Tier 1 words are book, girl, sad, clock, baby, dog, and orange.