How high quality language environments create high quality learning environments
Over a dozen state governments have already passed laws mandating that all children must read at grade level in third grade if they are to progress through formal school. Spurred by the Grade Level Reading Campaign, the call is to renewed emphasis on early reading achievement as a gateway for further learning and success. In this talk, I argue that the best way to ensure strong reading skills is not with a laser focus on reading, but also by turning our attention to building strong language skills in early childhood. We have learned much in the past 30 years about how children learn and process language. Distilling from the language literature, I present 6 principles of language learning that can help build a strong foundation for language learning and for later reading success. Throughout, I review the literature on language development and add newer research generated in our labs to bridge the gap between the what we know from our science of learning and what we do in our homes and classrooms. I also share some of our latest studies at evidence-based assessment and intervention to demonstrate how we can use findings in language development to foster precisely the skills children will need to use language for reading.
Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek’s research examines the development of early language and literacy as well as the role of play in learning. With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Golinkoff, she is author of 14 books and hundreds of publications, she is the recipient of the AERA Outstanding Public Communication for Education Research Award, the American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award, among several other distinctions. Her recent book, ‘Becoming Brilliant: What the science tells us about raising successful children’, released in 2016, was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in Education and Parenting.