The early catastrophe: the 30 million word gap by age 3
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Professor Betty Hart and Dr Todd Risley

Examining the influence of the home environment, this research asks what difference home-life makes in a child's ability to communicate, suggesting that home life and parental influence have a profound effect on young children’s development and vocabulary.

The research found that 86% to 98% of the words used by children by the age of three are derived from their parents' vocabularies and, possibly as a result, children's vocabularies differed greatly across income groups.

These findings, regarded as highly significant, suggested that the foundation laid at age three had a great bearing on children’s progress for many years to come. This gave weight to much early intervention policy in recent years. 

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Professor Betty Hart and Dr Todd Risley

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American Educator

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With its focus on early years development, this research will interest professionals working with young children, as well as policy makers working around early age development and educational inequality.  


Record ID:
R095 / 239
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