Overcoming Poverty to Construct Language:
Differences in Rural and Urban Head Start Preschoolers’ English Language
Acquisition and Response to Indirect Language Stimulation Intervention
Jannah W. Nerran, Hope E. Wilson, Carol D. Abel
American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA, May, 2013
1
Introduction
2
While we are NOT able to
fix capitalism
that may be perpetuating
poverty in America to its
core,
(referencing Dr. Leonardo’s audio on the AERA website)
. . . we CAN offer some ideas
on
HOW TO remedy some of the
language barriers
that persist in blocking
the dialogue that needs to
happen first.
3
Our Research
Our ideas are simple and
straightforward:
One-day Training for
Teachers
Integrate simple ideas in
classrooms
English Language
improves
4
Our Research Design
Random Selection of
Intervention/Comparison Teachers
One Day Training
Pre/Post Assessment of
Expressive and Receptive
Language
Classroom Integration
Monthly Visits for Fidelity
5
Background Research
Importance of early language in
future academic success
(National Reading Panel, 2000;
Morrow, Reuda, & Lapp, 2009)
Environmental influences on
language development
(Hart & Risley, 2003; Helman, 2005)
Social Constructivism
(Vygotsky, 1933)
Limitations of poverty on language
development
(August & Shanahan, 2006)
6
“SPEAK” Strategies
7
SPEAK
Seek opportunities to
engage in conversation with
children
8
SPEAK
Personalize communication
with children by talking
about what THEY are doing
or seeing.
9
SPEAK
Engage children in
conversation by asking
open-ended questions.
10
SPEAK
Assist children’s language
by expanding what they
say.
11
SPEAK
Keep it simple; refrain from
bombarding language
learners with too much
information at once.
12
Study Results
13
Sample Demographics
633 participants
Head Start
Low SES
Equal Male and Female
Equal Intervention and
Comparison
More Rural than Urban
14
Descriptive Statistics
3-5 year olds
Pre Scores more than 1 SD
from national means
Significant growth across
sample
15
Treatment & Comparison
Comparison sample slightly
older
No differences in pre scores
16
Rural & Urban Samples
Rural sample slightly older
Urban children lower EVT
and PPVT scores prior to
intervention
17
Expressive Language
Intervention had a
significant effect on
expressive language
Small Effect
No interaction effect means
intervention worked equally
well for urban and rural
populations
18
Receptive Language
No significant effects
All groups had significant
improvements
19
Implications
20
Language
Intervention is
crucial to
language
development.
21
Language
Intervention
was effective
in improving
expressive
language.
22
Language
Intervention
was equally
effective for
rural and
urban
contexts.
23
Head Start is
effective in
developing
language in
children.
24
REFERENCES
• August, D. & Shanahan, T., Eds. (2006). Developing literacy in second-language learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority
Children and Youth (p. 214). Mahwah, NJ: LEA.
• Bohannon, J. N. and Bonvillian, J. D. (2000). Theoretical approaches to language acquisition. In J. B. Gleason (Ed.). The development of
language (pp. 254-314). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. In Tsybina I., Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E., and Greenberg, J. (2006
October). Recasts used with preschoolers learning English as their second language. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34, 178-179.
• Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155-159.
• Dickinson, D. K. (2001). Large group and free-play times: Conversational settings supporting language and literacy development. In D. K.
Dickinson and P. O. Tabors (Eds.). Beginning literacy with language (pp. 223-255). Baltimore: Brookes.
• Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, D. M. (2007). Peabody picture cocabulary test manual (4th ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Pearson.
• Good Talking With You Series (2007). Oh say what they see—An introduction to indirect language stimulation techniques. Portland, OR:
Educational Productions. Retrieved from http://www.tr.wou.edu/perc/documents/indirectlanguagestimulation.pdf
• Hart, B. & Risley, T. (2003, Spring). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American Educator,.8.
• Helman, L. A. (2005). Spanish speakers learning to read in English: What a large-scale assessment suggests about their progress. National
Reading Conference Yearbook, 211-226.
• Millett, J., Atwill, K., Blanchard, J., & Gorin, J. (2008). The validity of receptive and expressive vocabulary measures with Spanish-speaking
kindergarteners learning English. Reading Psychology, 29, 534-551. doi:10.1080/02702710802272014.
• Morrow, L. M. (2008). Language and vocabulary development. In L.25
M. Morrow Literacy development in the early years: Helping children read
This research was conducted with funds provided to the
Perkins College of Education Faculty Research Academy
by the Stephen F. Austin State University Research
Development Program. Conclusions expressed in this
study are the researchers’ alone.
26
Contact:
Jannah W. Nerran
[email protected]
Hope E. Wilson
[email protected]
Carol D. Abel
[email protected]
27
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Overcoming Poverty to Construct Language: Differences …