Mabel Silva

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Research in psychology, sociology, and educational studies has demonstrated that the vocabulary young children are exposed to before age three has significant implications for their later educational outcomes. Words Count, an intervention being implemented by the Village for Families and Children, is designed to prepare young children for entrance into school, while also providing families with guidance on how to increase conversation and maximize the number of words their child(ren) encounters each day. In the current study, we aimed to (1) describe the sample of families enrolled in Words Count, (2) determine how children’s exposure to adult words and their conversational turns with adults changed over an approximately 10-month period when they were enrolled in Words Count, and (3) elucidate characteristics of families who evidenced improvements in adult word exposure and conversational turns. We found that between the first and last assessment, exposure to adult word count increased, while conversational turns remained approximately the same. Families with lower baseline scores on both outcomes appeared to evidence more growth over the course of the program.


Community partner: The Village for Families and Children