Notice: Research Suspended Due to COVID-19
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the University of Delaware has suspended all research with human participants (except for necessary medical treatments) until further notice. Please check back later for updates about our research.
Scientific knowledge is fundamental to the success of the individual in school, work, and everyday life. The language used in science education is filled with abstract words (like hypothesis) and complex grammatical structures (like she thought that the frog would jump). Thus, science learning may be especially difficult for students with specific language impairments, as well as for children learning English as a second language. Our goal is to test the potential for early intervention programs to improve the learning and generalization of science concepts in preschool and kindergarten-aged children. This study examines which of three treatments (grammar focused, vocabulary focused, or pre-literacy focused) leads to better science outcomes. This research is funded by the NSF. We have co-investigators at Boys Town National Research Hospital and the University of Iowa.
NOTE: 2020 Science + Language Camp has been CANCELLED. We will update this page if we are able to run the camp in 2021.
We are examining how the variety and frequency of verbs in children’s books affects the learning of the structures those verbs appear in. For example, children must learn that “give” and “manufacture” both fit into the structure VERB + RECIPIENT + OBJECT, as in “I gave/manufactured her a card.” They must make this generalization even though “give” is used much more frequently than other verbs like “manufacture.” In this study, children will have their English skills tested and those who qualify will receive books to take home each week for 4 weeks. After this, we will test how well the child has learned the new structures in the books. This work is funded by the NIH. We have collaborators at the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas.