Closing the lockdown language gap

Research by the Education Endowment Foundation suggests that measures taken to control the pandemic have deprived young children of much of the social contact and variety of experiences that underpin language development.

Many children have had limited or no contact with grandparents and friends. They have had fewer opportunities for activities and outings which would introduce them to new vocabulary. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks have made social interaction and conversations more challenging.

Children need a good strong home language or they may struggle to develop the skills which are key to their future learning and social and emotional development.

Catching up

Good practice to support language is therefore absolutely core to high quality early years provision. Research on language development emphasises the importance of quality talk with children as a key predictor of positive outcomes. It involves interacting with children in a way that includes their interests, ensures they can understand and engage, whilst extending their language further.

Sharing books

According to research, the impact of sharing books and stories with young children can be incredibly far reaching. However, the research also tells us that for children with language delay, sharing stories alone is not enough. They need something extra; they need those story sharing opportunities to be interactive, for adults to link new words and ideas to things that are meaningful for them.

Clickety’s Early Soundplay stories are written with careful attention to language structures and early phonological awareness skills supporting language and early literacy development.

Written by a speech and language therapist, each story is packed with multiple repetitions of selected sounds and rhymes. Children love sound play and are incredibly responsive to the rhythm and rhyme built into the books.

The stories are expertly crafted to support children’s developing speech sound awareness and vocabulary knowledge. These are key foundation skills for success with phonics, early reading and spelling.

Language Boosting activities

The bright and engaging characters are a brilliant springboard for the Early Soundplay Bundles which are full of ideas and activities that are designed to reinforce language.

‘The resources are comprehensive … Lots of follow up activities and cross curriculum suggestions all of which are great for developing language skills.’ Nursery World Awards, 2019.

‘The Props and puppets can really help bring the story and ideas in it alive.

‘Easy to use in pre-school or Reception with small groups.’ Nursery World Awards, 2019.

Targeted intervention

Award-winning Chatty Bats Language Development Programme is an accessible and engaging solution to developing understanding and use of language; it helps close the language gap for children with delays, crucial during times of disrupted education.

It combines a robust dialogic reading methodology with a structured hierarchy of language activities:

  • Shared reading and small group structured play sessions nurture and support children aged 3-5 to become more confident and independent as their understanding and spoken language develops.
  • Additional activities for the classroom enhance the communication supportive environment and provide additional ideas for practitioners to support language across the provision.

Basket Summary