LAMiNATE Talks: Ida Rosqvist, Ketty Andersson, Olof Sandgren (LU), Viveka lyberg-Åhlander (LU & Åbo Akademi University) Kristina Hansson & Birgitta Sahlén (LU).
Verbal fluency and word definitions in elementary school children. The effect of summer vacation, schooling, bilingualism, cognitive factors, and social factors
Vocabulary skills are, on the one hand, important for school success, and, on the other, further developed by formal instruction and schooling. Other factors such as bilingualism and socioeconomic factors have also been shown to influence vocabulary skills.
In this talk I will report on three studies investigating factors influencing the performance on a Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) task and a Word Definition (WD) task in first and second grade children attending Swedish mainstream education.
In one study 68 children with mean age 7.9 (ranging from 6.5 to 9.1), were assessed pre- and post-summer vacation and post-fall semester using two SVF categories (Animals and Clothes). The number of words produced in both categories gave the total score. We investigated the development during summer vacation versus formal schooling and whether this development was affected by level of parental education, general language ability, non-verbal IQ, or bilingualism.
In a second study we investigated 208 (mean age 7:8, range 6:8–9:0) monolingual and bilingual children’s performance on a WD task where they were assessed with a 10-item WD task. Amount of information included in the definitions gave the WD score and number of words with at least partially correct information gave a Word knowledge score. We investigated how bilingualism, level of parental education, school characteristics (proportion of students with Swedish as second language and proportion of parents with tertiary education), CELF-4 Core Language Score, and non-verbal IQ contributed to their performance.
Finally, I will also report preliminary results from a study on the effect of a teacher-training program on children’s SVF and WD performance. In this study, twenty-five teachers working with first and second grade students participated in an 11-week Speech-Language Pathologist-led program focusing on enhancing classroom communication.