Can Text Messages Home Help Build Vocabulary? Q&A With Temple University Researchers

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Can Text Messages Home Help Build Vocabulary? Q&A With Temple University Researchers

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019
Source: Education Week

To enlist parents in their children's education, schools are increasingly sending text messages home. There's evidence to suggest parents appreciate the trend.

But can such an approach actually help young children develop concrete literacy skills, such as building vocabulary?

A new project out of Temple University in Philadelphia, dubbed Text to Talk, is showing promising early results. 

Funded by the William Penn Foundation and tested in 49 pre-K classrooms along with the School District of Philadelphia, Text to Talk relies on carefully crafted messages with tips for parents on talking about the new words their children are learning in school. The messages are send straight to family members' mobile phones using popular services such as Remind and ClassDojo. The idea is to give children the opportunity to learn about and practice specific new words in a variety of settings, with a mix of trusted adults.

Preliminary results from a small randomized-control trial found that children whose families received the messages learned more of the vocabulary words (the findings have yet to be peer reviewed.)

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