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Title: The influence of child and social factors on the efficacy of language interventions and the role of language in predicting school readiness
Authors: Tulip, Josie
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Background: Poor preschool language and readiness for school can have consequences on life outcomes. Interventions are often utilised to both promote language, and benefit many abilities underpinning school readiness. Intervention implementation and evaluations are commonly motivated by two implicit assumptions: 1) all children will benefit equally from interventions, and 2) children’s language gains will benefit school readiness equally. However, language and school readiness are both related to child and family-related social factors through a range of possible mechanisms. Thus, children could be subject to a ‘triple threat’ of disadvantage – where their developmental and social disadvantages lead to poorer language and school readiness outcomes, poorer intervention response, and less benefit in school readiness from language gains. Methods: Phase 1: a systematic review of language intervention studies examined whether children benefitted equally from interventions, or if gains were affected by child and social factors. Phase 2: a secondary data analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study examined if children benefit equally in school readiness from language gains, or if benefits are moderated by child and social factors. Results: Phase 1: Children with more severe language difficulties gained more from interventions in general language, word knowledge, and expressive morphosyntax, but less in listening comprehension. Children with speech difficulties gained less from phonological awareness and expressive morphosyntax interventions. Phase 2: Males compared to females, and children living in poverty compared to their more affluent peers benefitted more in school readiness from gains in expressive vocabulary. Overall: Being male did not create a ‘triple threat’ of disadvantage. Speech difficulties created a ‘double threat’. Conclusions: Language, school readiness, child, and social factors may associate with one-another through complex mechanisms which are not just based on additive risk. This has implications on how interventions targeting language and school readiness are assessed and implemented, and so requires further investigation.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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