24-Month-Old Children With Larger Oral Vocabularies Display GreaterAcademic and Behavioral Functioning at Kindergarten Entry

October 30, 2015

Child Development

By Paul L. Morgan, George Farkas, Marianne M. Hillemeier, Carol Scheffner Hammer, Steve Maczuga

Data were analyzed from a population-based, longitudinal sample of 8,650 U.S. children to (a) identify factors associated with or predictive of oral vocabulary size at 24 months of age and (b) evaluate whether oral vocabulary size is uniquely predictive of academic and behavioral functioning at kindergarten entry. Children from higher socioeconomic status households, females, and those experiencing higher quality parenting had largeroral vocabularies. Children born with very low birth weight or from households where the mother had health problems had smaller oral vocabularies. Even after extensive covariate adjustment, 24-month-old children with larger oral vocabularies displayed greater reading and mathematics achievement, increased behavioral self-regulation, and fewer externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors at kindergarten entry.

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