Charles Hulme is Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Oxford and is a William Golding Senior Research Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford. Charles has broad research interests in reading, language and memory processes and their development and is an expert on randomized controlled trials in Education. Publications include a number of assessment materials including the York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (2009), the Phonological Abilities Test (1997), Sound Linkage (2014) and The Test of Basic Arithmetic and Numeracy Skills (2015) as well as several books dealing with various aspects of reading development. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the journal ‘Scientific Studies of Reading’ (2007-2009) and is currently a Senior Editor of the Association of Psychological Science’s flagship journal, Psychological Science. In 2009 he published “Developmental disorders of language, learning and cognition” (Wiley-Blackwell; co-authored with Maggie Snowling). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo (2014) and is a member of Academia Europea and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He received the Feitelson Research Award from the International Reading Association (1998) and the Marion Welchman International Award for Contributions to the study of Dyslexia from the British Dyslexia Association (2016). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017
Interventions to improve children’s early language skills
Department of Education, University of Oxford, UK
Language is the foundation for education and the medium of instruction. Many children, especially those from socially disadvantage backgrounds, enter school with poor oral language skills which compromise their ability to benefit from education.
I will present the results from several studies showing that interventions delivered early in a child’s life can have positive effects on language and reading comprehension skills. Studies of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme developed by our research group show that an oral language programme delivered by teaching assistants working in schools can produce improvements in children’s oral language skills with moderate to large effect sizes.
The programme also produces improvements in children’s reading comprehension skills. Recent work by our group has shown how early language interventions can effectively be rolled-out at scale.
I will conclude with a plea for the importance of embedding oral language enrichment work in early educational settings.