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Child-Directed Speech (Effects of Variation in Quality)

  • By: Meredith L. Rowe & Virginia C. Salo
  • In: Encyclopedia of Language Development
  • Edited by: Patricia J. Brooks & Vera Kempe
  • Subject:Language Development, Language & Communication

Children acquire language at different rates and vary widely in language skills as early as 2 years of age. Understanding this variability is important because children who start school with poor oral language abilities may have trouble learning to read and as a consequence may fall behind in all subject areas. One factor that contributes to variability in early language development is the speech that children are exposed to during the early childhood period. Research has primarily focused on parent speech to children. In the mid-1990s two seminal studies, one by Betty Hart and Todd Risley and one by Janellen Huttenlocher and colleagues, found that the amount of speech parents directed to their children predicted children's vocabulary growth. Children who heard more words had larger ...

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