Enhancing Parent-Child Language Interaction in the Pre-School Years

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    Language interaction between parents and pre-school infants and children is extremely important, as children’s brains are developing at a speed they will never approach again. High quality interaction enhances child language development, which in turn predicts better performance later in school and employment. Parents commonly over-estimate how much they talk with their pre-school children, so some form of structured feedback is needed to help them to see the possibilities. The Language Environment Analysis (LENA) system automatically analyses large amounts of parent-child language interaction and yields quantitative feedback which can cause parents to enhance their interactions. This chapter focuses on how parents can be encouraged to engage in high quality language interaction with their pre-school children, in relation to adult word count but particularly in relation to conversational turns. Parents below average in language interaction showed significant and sustained gains. The chapter looks at studies in the US but also in China and Korea, examining universal imperatives irrespective of the actual language involved. LENA is now being introduced into schools, although detailed evaluation is awaited.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPromoting Academic Talk in Schools
    Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Practices and Perspectives
    EditorsRobyn M. Gillies
    PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9780203728932
    ISBN (Print)9781138305489 (hbk)
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2018


    • language
    • preschool children
    • Language Environment Analysis (LENA)
    • automatic analysis
    • feedback
    • parents
    • schools


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