Your Parenting Mojo

072: Is the 30 Million Word Gap Real: Part II

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This episode revisits the concept of the 30 Million Word Gap concept, which we first covered in an interview with Dr. Doug Sperry a few weeks back.

After she heard that I was going to talk with Dr. Sperry, Dr. Roberta Golinkoff – with whom we discussed her book Becoming Brilliant almost two years ago now – asked to come back on to present a rebuttal.  We’re going to learn a lot more about the importance of child-directed speech!

This episode serves two purposes: it helps us to understand another aspect of the 30 Million Word Gap, and it also demonstrates pretty clearly that scientists – both of whom have the best interests of children at heart – see very different ways of achieving that end.

References

Adair, J.K., Colegrave, K.S-S, & McManus. M.E. (2017). How the word gap argument negatively impacts young children of Latinx immigrants’ conceptualizations of learning. Harvard Educational Review 87(3), 309-334.

Avineri, N., Johnson, E., Brice‐Heath, S., McCarty, T., Ochs, E., Kremer‐Sadlik, T., Blum, S., Zentella, A.C., Rosa, J., Flores, N., Alim, H.S., & Paris, D. (2015). Invited forum: Bridging the “language gap”. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology25(1), 66-86.

Bassok, D., Latham, S., & Rorem, A. (2016). Is Kindergarten the new first grade? AERA Open 1(4), 1-31.

Baugh, J. (2017). Meaning-less difference: Exposing fallacies and flaws in “The Word Gap” hypothesis that conceal a dangerous “language trap” for low-income American families and their children. International Multilingual Research Journal 11(1), 39-51.

Brennan, W. (2018, April). Julie Washington’s quest to get schools to respect African American English. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/the-code-switcher/554099/

Correa-Chavez, M., & Rogoff, B. (2009). Children’s attention to interactions directed to others: Guatemalan and European American Patterns. Developmental Psychology 45(3), 630-641.

Craig, H.K., & Washington, J.A. (2004). Grade-related changes in the production of African American English. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 47(2), 450-463.

Gee, J.P. (1985). The narrativization of experience in the oral style. Journal of Education 167(1), 9-57

Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. (2009). Children, language, and literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times. New York: Teachers College Press.

Golinkoff, R.M., Hoff, E., Rowe, M.L., Tamis-LeMonda, C., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (in press). Language matters: Denying the existence of the 30 Million Word Gap has serious consequences. Child Development.

Lee-James, R., & Washington, J.A. (2018). Language skills of bidialectal and bilingual children: Considering a strengths-based perspective. Topics in Language Disorders 38(1), 5-26.

Long, H. (2017, September 15). African Americans are the only U.S. racial group earning less than in 2000. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-african-americans-income-census-20170918-story.html

NAEP (2017). National student group scores and score gaps (Reading). NAEP. Retrieved from: https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2017/#nation/gaps?grade=4

Rogoff, B., Mistry, J., Goncu, A., ,& Mosier, C. (1993). Guided participation in cultural activity by toddlers and caregivers. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development Series No. 236, 58(8), v-173.

Ward, M.C. (1971). Them children: A study in language learning. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Washington, J.A., Branum-Martin, L., Sun, C., & Lee-James, R. (2018). The impact of dialect density on the growth of language and reading in African American children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 49, 232-247.

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About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership

She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com

And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school

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