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At Home in Language

Design and evaluation of a partnership program for teachers with lower-educated parents in support of their young children’s language development

Already in early childhood, children differ significantly in their language acquisition, as can be seen in variations of vocabulary sizes during elementary school. Comprehensive support of children at schools and at home, acknowledging families’ homes as the most influential environment for child development, is considered a promising strategy to closing young children’s language and literacy gaps.

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Results

Based on the results of our studies, we conclude that AHL contributes to successful partnerships between teachers and lower-educated parents that stimulate children’s language development. From the perspective of teachers, our findings show that teachers can be coached to work successfully with the AHL program and that they perceive working with the program as a valuable extension of their role as teachers. From the perspective of lower-educated parents, the results show that these parents increased their involvement in parent-child activities at school, their verbal interaction with their children during these activities, and the number of language stimulating activities at home. Finally, we discuss lessons that we learned and how research, practice, and policy can build upon our findings.

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