Most children develop speech and language skills effortlessly, but some are slow to develop these skills and then go on to struggle with literacy and academic skills throughout their schooling. It is the first few years of life that are critical to their subsequent performance.
This study uses a large complex dataset from the Avon longitudinal study of parents and children, also known as ‘Children of the nineties’. This is a population study of children born to mothers in and around the area of Bristol which used to be known as Avon.
It examines the characteristics of the environment in which children learn to communicate (such as activities undertaken with children, the mother’s attitude towards her baby, and the wider support available to the family) and the extent to which this affects a child’s readiness for school entry (defined as their early language skills, reading, writing, and maths that they need to help them in school).