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Keywords:

  • early intervention;
  • language groups;
  • literacy

Abstract

Strong oral language skills are a prerequisite for successful literacy and there is a strong interdependence between oral language acquisition and emergent literacy development. Ramifications of this are that children with language impairments are at great risk for difficulties in learning to read and write, with problems often persisting throughout the school years into adulthood. The Together we are heard program involved improving each child's oral language skills through group sessions facilitated by a speech pathologist on a daily basis at preschool. The aim of the present research was to determine the effectiveness of the program to identify the best way to assist children to develop appropriate language skills. The study showed that the children improved significantly in all four levels of the Preschool Language Assessment Inventory (PLAI). Importantly, the program was effective for both genders and there was no difference in the success of Indigenous children when compared to their European counterparts. There is a strong recommendation for further research and to expand such programs, particularly in areas that target children from impoverished and deprived environmental backgrounds.