From oral language to literacy: Beyond 0-5

This research stream will build on LuCiD's 0-5 project - a study of 80 children's language learning across the first 5 years - by a) using the 0-5 data to understand how children's curiosity-based exploration shapes their word learning; b) using the 0-5 data to build individualized computer models of how particular children perform across different experiments and across development; and c) following the 0-5 children into school and determining how their preschool language abilities impact on the beginnings of their literacy development.

At the heart of the first phase of LuCiD was a detailed cohort study of 80 children between the ages of 0 and 5 years, which allowed us to investigate the impact of variation in a range of predictors, including frequency and lexical diversity in the child’s input and speed and accuracy of linguistic processing, on a substantial range of language outcome variables over the child’s first five years (e.g. Jones & Rowland, 2017; Peter et al, 2019.). This stream will capitalise and build on the rich set of measures collected within this study to a) extend the ground-breaking models of curiosity-based learning developed in the first phase of LuCiD to the study of individual differences in early vocabulary development, b) use the constraints inherent in the 0-5 dataset to build individualised models that can explain the behaviour of particular children across a range of different language-related tasks, and c) develop empirically-grounded models of the transition from oral language to literacy by following the 0-5 children into the first stages of formal schooling.

There are three projects under this stream:

Together these projects will result in exciting new models of individual variation in early language learning and determine the combined effect of the child’s pre-school language environment and cognitive and language skills on the beginnings of their literacy development. They will also enable us to advise practitioners about how oral language skills and early language experience interact across development, and how they transfer into the earliest stages of formal schooling.


Jones, G. & Rowland, C.(2017). Diversity not quantity in caregiver speech: using computational modeling to isolate the effects of the quantity and diversity of the input on vocabulary growth. Cognitive Psychology, 98, 1-21.

Peter, M. S., Durrant, S., Jessop, A., Bidgood, A., Pine, J. M. & Rowland, C. F. (2019). Does speed of processing or vocabulary size predict later language growth in toddlers? Cognitive Psychology