Effects of a Conversation Intervention on the Expressive Vocabulary Development of Prekindergarten Children Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a conversation intervention including 500 min of linguistically and cognitively complex talk on the expressive vocabulary growth of prekindergarten children. Method Children (N = 73) were randomly assigned to control or a 10-week experimental intervention condition. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2010
Effects of a Conversation Intervention on the Expressive Vocabulary Development of Prekindergarten Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hilary P. Ruston
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Paula J. Schwanenflugel
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Contact author: Paula J. Schwanenflugel, Department of Educational Psychology, 325 Aderhold Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: pschwan@uga.edu.
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2010
Effects of a Conversation Intervention on the Expressive Vocabulary Development of Prekindergarten Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 303-313. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0100)
History: Received August 30, 2008 , Revised March 26, 2009 , Accepted July 10, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2010, Vol. 41, 303-313. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0100)
History: Received August 30, 2008; Revised March 26, 2009; Accepted July 10, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 10

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a conversation intervention including 500 min of linguistically and cognitively complex talk on the expressive vocabulary growth of prekindergarten children.

Method Children (N = 73) were randomly assigned to control or a 10-week experimental intervention condition. Twice weekly, children in the intervention condition received 25 min of intensive conversation with an adult emphasizing use of rare words, linguistic recasts, and open-ended questions. Expressive vocabulary was measured using the Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT; Williams, 1997) and lexical diversity obtained through a language sample.

Results Children in the intervention group showed greater growth on the EVT than controls. Children in the intervention group with low vocabulary at pretest also showed greater growth in lexical diversity than controls.

Clinical Implications Findings suggest that relatively small amounts of linguistically and cognitively complex conversation with a trained adult can be a useful strategy for improving the expressive vocabulary skills of children with low vocabularies.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The study was presented at the National Reading Conference, December 2008, in Orlando, FL. We thank Christopher MacLean for his assistance and the Child Development Laboratory at the McPhaul Center for allowing us to pilot study procedures.
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