NPR has a story today about a new study that trained low-income moms to talk to their babies in order to close the vocabulary gap that begins very early in children. (This is the much-cited gap found in the Hart and Risley study in the 1990s.)
In the study, researchers taught parents to use more words while interacting with their children, and they found that two experiment groups did have more vocabulary-rich interactions with their children than the control group.
Good news, but the story quotes Russ Whitehurst, of Brookings, saying that this sort of intervention is only a beginning:
“If that’s not followed with good stimulation in school with continued positive parent interactions, if that experience is not built on, it’s not likely to have an enduring effect,” Whitehurst says.