Big Vocabularies in 2-Year-Olds May Predict Kindergarten Success The size of children’s oral vocabularies at 2 years old may predict their eventual kindergarten readiness, according to a new study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University and the University of California, Irvine. The scientists, analyzing nationally representative data for 8,650 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   January 01, 2016
Big Vocabularies in 2-Year-Olds May Predict Kindergarten Success
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Development / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Professional Issues & Training / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   January 01, 2016
Big Vocabularies in 2-Year-Olds May Predict Kindergarten Success
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.21012016.14
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.21012016.14
The size of children’s oral vocabularies at 2 years old may predict their eventual kindergarten readiness, according to a new study by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University and the University of California, Irvine.
The scientists, analyzing nationally representative data for 8,650 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, found that 2-year-olds with larger vocabularies may be better prepared than peers, both academically and behaviorally, when they later enter kindergarten. In the study, published in the journal Child Development, those with bigger vocabularies tended to be female, from higher-income families and recipients of higher-quality parenting.

Toddlers with bigger vocabularies tended to be female, from higher-income families and recipients of higher-quality parenting.

“Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary’s theorized importance as a multifaceted contributor to children’s early development,” says lead author Paul Morgan, Penn State associate professor of education. “Our findings are also consistent with prior work suggesting that parents who are stressed, overburdened, less engaged, and who experience less social support may talk, read or otherwise interact with their children less frequently, resulting in their children acquiring smaller oral vocabularies.”
The researchers analyzed vocabulary sizes of the 2-year-olds through parent surveys; three years later, they evaluated the children’s reading and math skills and used teacher ratings for information about the children’s behavior—frequency of acting out, trouble concentrating and physical aggressiveness.
Early interventions that increase children’s vocabularies could help those at-risk and from “disadvantaged home environments,” notes co-author George Farkas, UC-Irvine professor of education.
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January 2016
Volume 21, Issue 1