I’m used to thinking about time in two different ways in my research. One type of time is developmental time — the journey that children make as they learn to read. The other is processing time — how processing happens in real time, as people read. Beyond the disciplinary boundaries of cognitive psychology, another type of time concerns the cultural evolution of writing systems: the development of a language from a purely oral tradition to one that has a writing system. Does this history have any relevance for helping us understand how children learn to read?
We’ve been thinking a lot about semantic diversity lately and how it might relate to children’s reading development. We invited our latest recruit to the research team, Nicky Dawson, to summarise our recent paper and think about the implications of its findings. Over to Nicky…
Our latest research-practice Partner event was themed around mental health and well-being. Lucy Bowes discussed some of her work on bullying and mental health and this set the scene for a wide-ranging discussion.
Nearly 135,000 stories from 5-13 year-olds across the UK and a huge 56 million words later, the Oxford Children’s Word of the Year has been identified as ‘plastic’.
There’s been much discussion recently regarding the “language gap” and the “word gap” — the recognition that there are huge variations in levels of children’s language ability by the time they start school. Some of our research has investigated how children’s spoken language sets the foundation for literacy development. It is clear that children with low levels of spoken language are at risk for reading failure, particularly with it comes to reading comprehension.
Some children start school with worryingly low levels of oral language. In this guest post, Maggie Snowling tells us why this matters and what can be done about it.
Word Detective is our nationwide citizen science project for children. Lots of children have already taken part in our quiz, as these photos show. With your help, we hope many more children will take part. We need 1000s of Word Detectives to help us answer important questions about how children learn to read. Follow our how to guide and you can complete the quiz in 10 easy steps. And there are prizes to be won!
Word Detective is our nationwide citizen science project. Many children have already participated, earning their Word Detective certificate. With your help, we hope many more children will take part. We need 1000s of Word Detectives to help us answer important questions about how children learn to read. You can complete the quiz with your class in 10 easy steps, by following our how to guide. And there are prizes to be won!
The picture shows our research group enjoying some shared reading time at Oxford’s Story Museum.
We know that shared reading matters. Study after study shows that children vary enormously in the amount of shared reading they experience in the pre-school years. In turn, this variation is associated with language and literacy development once they get to school. But why is shared reading so important?
Primed by an email conversation about the connections between vocabulary and reading comprehension, I’ve dug out a chapter I wrote nearly 10 years ago on the very topic. If I was writing it now, one thing I’d want to include is discussion of vocabulary instruction and its role in improving reading comprehension. Although there is more to reading comprehension than vocabulary, there is good evidence that gains in vocabulary knowledge are associated with gains in reading comprehension (e.g., Clarke et al., 2010). Equally though, successful reading itself provides the essential substrate for learning new vocabulary – hence the rich and complex interactions between vocabulary and reading comprehension.