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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Word Gap

We started our new Speech Link blog in March by talking about vocabulary. I’d like to continue this topic here. I have just watched a fab video put together by The Economist which presents some data from Chicago on the impact of The Word Gap. It has been found that children from low income families hear 30 million fewer words on average by the time they are 3 than children from higher income families. This 5 minute video stresses the importance of interacting with children in those crucial years before they start school, to give them the best start.

In our Language Link training for new schools, we discuss vocabulary learning and the impact of poor vocabulary. We refer to research presented by Jean Gross (ex-Communication Champion) showing that vocabulary at age 5 is a powerful predictor of GCSE achievement.

Researchers in Chicago are using a piece of technology called the Word Pedometer which can record how many words a child hears throughout the day. This can chart when and how many words are communicated to the child, and can be a useful tool in raising awareness of the use of Parent Talk.

“It is through the power of parent talk that true change can occur.”

Watch the video here.