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The LEaD project is a 3-year collaboration between researchers at the universities of Warwick and Edinburgh, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. This project will investigate how children learn to use language based on their prior listening and interaction experiences.

This is important because recent reports highlight that good language and communication skills in young children can predict better literacy rates (1) and educational outcomes in the long-term (2; 3). However, 20% of children are not attaining the expected levels of language development by the end of the Foundation Stage of education (4).

We aim to gain a deeper understanding of how children learn to use different sentence structures and share our findings with caregivers and early years staff who provide a substantial portion of early language input for many children. We hope that together, we can understand how to better support children’s language development.

More information about the project is available here.


1. National Literacy Trust. 2006 Rose Review. Retrieved from: assets/0000/1175/Rose_Review.pdf in April 2016

2. Roulstone, S., Law, J., Rush, R., Clegg, J., & Peters, T. (2011). Investigating the role of language in children’s early educational outcomes. London: Department for Education.

3. Save the Children. (2016). Early language development and children’s primary school attainment in English and Maths: New research findings. Retrieved from: https://www. pdf in April 2016.

4. Department for Education. (2016). Early years foundation stage profile results in England, 2016 SFR 50/2016. Retrieved from: system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561224/SFR50_2016_Text.pdf in April 2016.


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