O'Neil, D. (2007). The Language Use Inventory for Young Children: A Parent-Report Measure of Pragmatic Language Development for 18- to 47-Month-old Children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 214-228.
Second, parents should start reading to their kids as early as they can. The benefits of reading are enormous, improving both quantitative and qualitative aspects of vocabulary development. Book reading sessions are found to produce the highest number of vocabulary words compared to other interactive activities like playtime and mealtime (Weizman and Snow, 2006). Reading informative books, in particular, generate a high word density in a relatively short period of time (Weizman and Snow, 2006). The frequency of object labels and of explicit labeling (e.g., "This is a tiger.") is also greater during book reading than toy-play interactions (Choi, 2000 and Ho?, 2003c in Hoff, 2006). Further, maternal speech during book reading is structurally more complex and uses a larger vocabulary compared to other activities (Weizman & Snow, 2001; Ho?-Ginsberg, 1991; Jones & Adamson, 1987; Goddard, Durkin, & Rutter, 1985; and Snow et al., 1976 in Hoff, 2006).
Finally, parents must take advantage of mealtimes and playtimes as possible vocabulary expanding activities. These activities are shown to generate as much as seven times more spontaneous, sophisticated vocabulary than reading (Weizman and Snow, 2001). Further, because of the informal nature of these activities, the resulting conversations and interactions are also likely to be more engaging and interesting.
In summary, vocabulary development among young children is significantly impacted by the experience that parents provide. Specifically, this experience includes the quantity and quality of vocabulary input, the benefits of which are more pronounced if given in a supportive and engaging setting. Parents can help improve the vocabulary outcomes in their children by reading to them from an early age and using richer, more sophisticated vocabulary during play and mealtime interactions.
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Birdsong, D. (1999). Second language acquisition and the critical period hypothesis. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. This book examines reasons why very young learners might be subject to a critical period for language acquisition.
Costa, A.R., Mcilvane, W.J., & Wilkinson, K.M. (2001). Emergent word-object mapping by children: Further studies using the blank comparison technique. The Psychological Record, 51(3), 343. This study confirmed the usefulness of the blank comparison technique in emergent mapping research and provided the first data set from school-aged children.
Danby, S. (2002). The communicative competence of young children. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 27(3), 25. The author is a classroom teacher who emphasized the importance of individual differences in learning ability and how these affect the teacher's need for judicious application of classroom management techniques to avoid frustrating early language acquisition.
Dixon, W.E., Jr., & Smith, P.H. (2000). Links between early temperament and language acquisition. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 46(3), 417. This was a study of mothers and 40 toddlers to investigate relationships between language acquisition and temperamental attentional control and positive affectivity.
Levy, Y. (1994). Other children, other languages: Issues in the theory of language acquisition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. This cross-cultural investigation concerned the theoretical contributions of cross-linguistic and cross-populations studies to language acquisition. The author reports, "This book presents cross-linguistic and cross-population studies of language acquisition" (p. 1).
Mcdonald, J.L. (1997). Language acquisition: The acquisition of linguistic structure in normal and special populations. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 215. This study analyzed the body of evidence that learners use the routes of prosodic and phonological information, function words, and morphological decomposition in order to achieve mastery of the structure of their language.
Nowak-Fabrykowski, K., & Shkandrij, M. (2004). The symbolic world of the bilingual child: Digressions on language acquisition, culture and the process of thinking. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(4), 284. These authors stress the importance of recognizing the cultural venue in which language is acquired because language uses a special type of symbolism that comprises all social objects and actions, and which ultimately constructs the individual's cultural identity and perspective. They note that, "Research has shown the importance of analyzing the culture of a child in order to understand what material he/she uses in his/her thought process. Culture as the dominant factor influences his/her knowledge by importing values, norms and beliefs" (p. 285).
Tager-Flusberg, H. (1994). Constraints on language acquisition: Studies of atypical children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. This edition was a compilation of studies of atypical children to develop support for a modularity approach to language, while they illustrate some of the ways in which language connects with and even facilitate some aspects of cognitive and social development among the very young.
Wood, G.D., & Ellis, R.C. (2003). Risk management practices of leading UK cost consultants, Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 10(4), 254-62. This was a serendipitously identified source that provided justification for the research design used.