TalkTogether: Supporting Oral Language Development

Children with a small vocabulary are at a disadvantage for all aspects of learning. Unless there is targeted support, children who start slow will continue to fall behind their language-rich peers. A powerful way to ensure all children are ready for learning, particularly in school, is to offer high quality oral language education early in a child’s life.

The power of early language intervention is supported by a large body of evidence.  A foundation of strong oral language cascades to improved reading and writing in the school years. However, little is known about the efficacy of oral language interventions in low- and middle-income countries where communities are often multilingual. We aim to address this gap in the literature through a mixed-methods study with children ages of 3-to-6 living in India and the Philippines. The project will examine oral language development under the particular complexities of multilingual urban poor settings. Research in these settings is of importance as there is reason to believe resources that spontaneously support children’s language development may be under strain for the urban poor (e.g. reduced social networks, a new school language), making them a particularly vulnerable group for school failure. This is a collaborative research project involving the Department of Education at the University of Oxford (UK), with university partners Manipal Academy of Higher Education (India) and the University of The Philippines Diliman, and NGO partners The Promise Foundation (India) and the Interactive Children’s Literacy Programme (ICLiP) (The Philippines).

External Project Team

Dina Ocampo (University of The Philippines Diliman), Portia Padilla (University of The Philippines Diliman), Julie Weygan-Aparato (Interactive Children’s Literacy Programme, The Philippines (ICLiP)), Shivani Tiwari (Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India), Sunila John (Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India), Gideon Arulmani (The Promise Foundation, India), Maggie Snowling (St. John’s College, University of Oxford, UK), Yonas Asfaha (College of Arts and Social Sciences, Eretria), Cynthia Puranik (Georgia State University, USA).

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