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Communication language and literacy research

For practitioners working with children under the age of 5

Engaging with babies' simple gestures helps develop language
Published November 2016

Researchers have found that responses to babies' first gestures have a direct effect on their language development.

Unlocking Talent Fulfilling Potential
Published December 2017

A plan for improving social mobility through education. Ambition one is closing the word gap in early years. It recognises that children with strong foundations start schools in a position to progress, but too many children fall behind Early. The plan highlights the need to close development gaps, especially early language and literacy skills.

Key competencies in early cognitive development: things, people, numbers and words
Published December 2018

This major report sets out the evidence on how best to support children’s foundational cognitive development in the early years, covering their theory of mind, objects, numbers and words. Understanding these crucial areas of development is key to ensuring children are ready for school and supporting efforts to reduce income-related gaps in school attainment.

We all read to children don’t we?
Published January 2019

Professor Law and Dr Charlton stress the importance of parents reading to their children after their joint study confirmed the positive effect it has on language development.

Reading to pre-school children boosts their language skills
Published January 2019

Children who are read to regularly by their parents or carers are ahead in their language skills by eight months, suggests new study.

Development Language Disorder (DLD)

Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is the new term to replace Specific Language Impairment. It is diagnosed when children fail to acquire their own language for no obvious reason. This results in children who have difficulty understanding what people say to them, and struggle to articulate their ideas and feelings.

Recent research has shown that, on average, 2 children in every class of 30 will experience DLD severe enough to hinder academic progress. DLD affects approximately 7% of the population and causes difficulties with speaking, understanding and reading.

For more information visit the Raising awareness of Developmental Language Disorder campaign.

New research shows the value of supporting pre-school language skills. Experts suggest that doing simple activities at home such as singing, painting or enjoying a bedtime story with pre-school children help to boost the economy by up to £1.2billion over their lifetimes.

The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy
Published July 2021

The government have published this new document. Whilst this is aimed at primary schools there is some useful information about the underpinning skills children need to become successful readers.

Best start in speech, language and communication: Guidance to support local commissioners and service leads
Published in October 2020

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