Exploring the early language environments of babies and toddlers
In this project, we are interested in characterizing different types of language interactions in the everyday environments of young children from English- and Spanish-speaking families. Babies and toddlers wear a soft vest with a lightweight audio recorder during a typical day at home. We are interested in how babies interact with their family members during different activities throughout the day, and how this changes over the first three years of life. This will help us understand how children begin to build the foundations for language and communication.

 

 

How do children learn to understand and speak English and Spanish?
Many children around the world grow up learning two languages. How do they do this?  In this project, children watch pairs of images as they listen to speech in English and Spanish, and we monitor their eye movements to see how quickly they make sense of spoken language. We are following children over time to ask: How does their processing of Spanish and English change during the preschool years? Does experience with one language help them understand a second one?  How do language interactions in and outside the home support bilingual development?

 

Leyendo Juntos: Promoting early literacy in pediatric primary care
In this project, we are exploring how promoting early literacy activities affects early language interactions in Latino families.  Leyendo Juntos is a cultural and linguistic adaptation of a program in which pediatricians give families children’s books and guidance about reading aloud. This study will asses whether Leyendo Juntos: 1) increases pediatric providers’ knowledge and implementation of culturally responsive practice in literacy promotion with Latino families, and 2) enhances parent-child language and reading interactions and child vocabulary development in Latino families with young children.

 

 

Toddlers’ Development of Language Skills: Learning new words is a complicated process!  Every word that we know has both a meaning — the object or idea the word represents — and a form — the specific sounds that make up that word. Children need to learn both of these things at the same time in order to understand new words that they hear grownups using around them. In this project, we are interested in how different children understand both the meaning and the sounds of the words they learn. By understanding how children balance these two parts of learning words, we may be better able to help children who have difficulty with learning language.