Main Areas of Study
Sowing seeds of literacy: speech-related subskills in relation to emergent literacy
Learning to read is a complex, multi-faceted process that is built upon several foundational speech and language-related subskills. To date, it remains unclear to what extent speech-related subskills (e.g., segmental and prosodic features of spoken language) impact a child’s ability to learn to read, despite evidence that many children with inaccurate speech-sound production (i.e., speech sound disorders) demonstrate reading difficulties. Therefore, our lab seeks to better understand how speech-related subskills in early childhood are associated with emergent literacy skills. This work has the potential to inform clinical approaches to early identification and intervention for children at risk for speech, language, and literacy difficulties.
Brain and language development in infancy
Recent work in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience proposes that the first two years of life signify the most rapid period of brain development, which coincides with an especially plentiful timeframe for language acquisition. Our lab examines the developing brain in relation to early language developmental milestones, and seeks to specify how relationships between the brain and language in infancy vary based on environmental experience.
Parental attributes related to the home literacy environment
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift in daily routines and practices for families of young children due to the prolonged restrictions on many childcare and preschool centers. In the wake of these changes, the importance of the home environment for learning and stimulation has taken precedence. To better understand how parents approach home parent-child reading practices during this time, our lab is conducting an online survey for parents of young children (toddlers and preschoolers) to examine factors associated with the home literacy environment in early childhood.