Language Skills

Parenting and Salience Network Connectivity Among African Americans: A Protective Pathway for Health-Risk Behaviors

Supportive parenting during childhood has been associated with many positive developmental outcomes for offspring in adulthood, including fewer health-risk behaviors. Little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying these associations. The present study followed rural African Americans (n = 91, 52% female) from late childhood (ages 11-13) to emerging adulthood (age 25). Parent-child communication was assessed at ages 11, 12, and 13. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used at age 25 to measure resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) of the ...

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Making the Case for Playful Learning

Play is one of the natural strengths of childhood through which children acquire and also practice critical language, cognitive, and socio-cognitive abilities. This long-standing belief has widely shaped curriculum in early childhood, mainly in the form allotting time and space for free play. However, lately the effectiveness of play for early childhood development and consequently its place in the early childhood curriculum are under attack especially in the USA. Policy makers are substituting playtime with didactic instruction aimed at imparting ...

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Evidence for General and Domain-Specific Elements of Teacher–Child Interactions: Associations With Preschool Children’s Development

This study evaluates a model for considering domain-general and domain-specific associations between teacher–child interactions and children’s development, using a bifactor analytic strategy. Among a sample of 325 early childhood classrooms there was evidence for both general elements of teacher–child interaction (responsive teaching) and domain-specific elements related to positive management and routines and cognitive facilitation. Among a diverse population of 4-year-old children (= 1,407) responsive teaching was modestly associated with development across social and cognitive domains, whereas positive management and routines was ...

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Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development.

Previous studies suggest that musical training in children can positively affect various aspects of development. However, it remains unknown as to how early in development musical experience can have an effect, the nature of any such effects, and whether different types of music experience affect development differently. We found that random assignment to 6 months of active participatory musical experience beginning at 6 months of age accelerates acquisition of culture-specific knowledge of Western tonality in comparison to a similar amount ...

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Short-Term Effects on Family Communication and Adolescent Conduct Problems: Familias Unidas in Ecuador

Familias Unidas, a Hispanic/Latino-specific, parent-centered intervention, found to be efficacious in improving family functioning and reducing externalizing behaviors among youth in the USA, was recently adapted and tested for use in Ecuador. This study examined the short-term efficacy of Familias Unidas in Ecuador on parent-adolescent communication, parental monitoring of peers, and youth conduct problems. Two hundred thirty-nine youths (ages 12–14 years) and their primary care givers were randomized to either Familias Unidas or Community Practice and assessed pre- and post-intervention. ...

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Less-structured time in children’s daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning

Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children’s externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children’s experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive ...

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Speech and Language Disorders in Children: Implications for the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income Program

Over the past several decades, the number of children receiving SSI has risen overall, and the number receiving SSI on the basis of speech and language disorders has increased as well. The Social Security Administration requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convene a committee to identify trends in the prevalence of speech and language disorders among U.S. children and to compare those trends to changes observed in the population of children who receive SSI. The resulting ...

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The Effect of Afterschool Program Participation on English Language Acquisition

In the past quarter century, the nation’s K-12 public schools have experienced a large influx of students who speak languages other than English. Research has shown that many factors affect how English learner (EL) students acquire English language skills, including their preparation before entering U.S. schools, their out-of-school environments, and schools’ educational practices. High-quality afterschool programs offer many benefits, including academic achievement, but research has not focused specifically on the effects of afterschool programs on English language development. The literatures ...

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How Stories Change the Brain

Why are we so attracted to stories? My lab has spent the last several years seeking to understand why stories can move us to tears, change our attitudes, opinions and behaviors, and even inspire us—and how stories change our brains, often for the better. Here’s what we’ve learned.

 

How Stories Change the Brain

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Learning from Live Theater

Our goal in pursuing research on the effects of culturally enriching field trips is to broaden the types of measures
that education researchers, and in turn policymakers and practitioners, consider when judging the educational success or failure of schools. It requires significantly greater effort to collect new measures than to rely solely on state-provided math and reading tests, but we believe that this effort is worthwhile. By broadening the measures used to assess educational outcomes, we can also learn what ...

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On The High School Diploma: A ‘Bilingual’ Stamp Of Approval?

In the 1920s, Aurora Orozco crossed over from Mexico to Texas — a child of African descent who spoke not a word of English. She was an uneasy transplant. Many years later, in an essay published in 1999, she recalled attitudes towards students who were caught speaking Spanish in school: “My teacher, Mrs. White, would make me stay after class. With a red rubber band, she would hit my poor hands until they nearly bled.” Today’s students don’t have it so ...

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Children’s Books by and about People of Color Published in the United States

In 1985 the Cooperative Children’s Book Center began to document the numbers of books published in the United States for children each year which were written and/or illustrated by African Americans. When then-CCBC Director Ginny Moore Kruse served as a member of the Coretta Scott King Award Committee that year, we were appalled to learn that, of the approximately 2,500 trade books that were published that year for children and teens, only 18 were created by African Americans, and ...

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