Promotion of Language Skills in Preschool Children in a Context of Low Educational Standards


This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention program for preschool children in an area where educational standards are poor. The participants, 129 children aged between 3 and 6 years, belonging to a public kindergarten in a Brazilian state with the second lowest human development index were involved in this research. The children were divided into an experimental intervention group and control group, where intelligence, memory, vocabulary, rapid automatized naming, and phonological awareness were evaluated before and after an intervention. The results show improvements in receptive vocabulary and rapid automatized naming in the experimental group after intervention. The level of intelligence prior to intervention was able to predict 25% of the vocabulary performance after intervention. Phonological awareness was predictive to nearly 26% of the performance in vocabulary after intervention only in the experimental group.

Share and Cite:

Mecca, T. , Silva, P. , de Alemida, R. , Rennhard, C. , Ganz, J. , Campos, L. and de Macedo, E. (2015) Promotion of Language Skills in Preschool Children in a Context of Low Educational Standards. Psychology, 6, 1125-1135. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.69110.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Aguilar-Mediavilla, E., Buil-Legaz, L., Perez-Castello, J. A., Rigo-Carratala, E., & Adrover-Roig, D. (2014). Early Preschool Processing Abilities Predict Subsequent Reading Outcomes in Bilingual Spanish-Catalan Children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Journal of Communication Disorders, 50, 19-35.
[2] Almeida, R. P. (2012). Prevenção e remediação das dificuldades de aprendizagem: adaptação do modelo de Resposta à Intervenção numa amostra brasileira. [Prevention and Remediation of Learning Difficulties: Adaptation of Response to Intervention Model in a Brazilian Sample]. Master’s Thesis, Sao Paulo: Universidade Federal de São Paulo.
[3] Batsche, G., Elliott, J., Graden, J. L., Grimes, J., Kovaleski, J. F., Prasse, D., Schrag, J., & Tilly, W. D. (2005). Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Inc.
[4] Bowyer-Crane, C., Snowling, M. J., Duff, F., & Hulme, C. (2011). Response to Early Intervention of Children with Specific and General Language Impairment. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 9, 107-121.
[5] Burgemeister, B., Blum, L., & Lorge, I. (1971). Columbia Mental Maturity Scale. New York, NY: Harcout, Brace & Ovanovich.
[6] Capovilla, F. C., & Capovilla, A. G. S. (1997). Language Development in Children from 2 to 6 Years of Age: Brazilian Translation and Norms for Dunn & Dunn’s Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and Rescorla’s Language Development Survey de Rescorla. Ciência Cognitiva: Teoria, Pesquisa e Aplicação, 1, 353-380.
[7] Coleman, M. R., Froma, R. R., & West, T. (2009). Road Map to Pre-K-RTI. Applying Responses to Intervention in Preschool Settings. National Center for Learning Disabilities, 13.
[8] Cunha, F., & Heckman, J. (2011). Capital Humano [Human Capital]. In A. P. Araújo (Org.), Aprendizagem Infantil: Uma abordagem da neurociência, economia e psicologia cognitiva. [Children Learning: An Approach to Neuroscience, Economics and Cognitive Psychology] (pp. 9-33). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Academia Brasileira de Ciências.
[9] Domitrovich, C. E., Morgan, N. R., Moore, J. E., Cooper, B. R., Shah, H. K., Jacobson, L., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). One versus Two Years: Does Length of Exposure to an Enhanced Preschool Program Impact the Academic Functioning of Disadvantaged Children in Kindergarten? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28, 704-713.
[10] Duarte, C. P., Covre, P., Braga, A. C., & Macedo, E. C. (2011). Visuospatial Support for Verbal Short-Term Memory in Individuals with Down Syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32, 1918-1923.
[11] Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1981). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Revised. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
[12] Fletcher, J. M., & Vaughn, S. (2009). Response to Intervention: Preventing and Remediating Academic Difficulties. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 30-37.
[13] Ganz, J. S., Campos, L. M., & Almeida, R. P. (2013). Ativamente: Programa de Estimulação Neurocognitiva. “Ativamente”: Neurocognitive Stimulation Program.
[14] Georgiou, G. K., Tziraki, N., Manolitsis, G., & Fella, A. (2013). Is Rapid Automatized Naming Related to Reading and Mathematics for the Same Reason(s)? A Follow-Up Study from Kindergarten to Grade 1. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115, 481-496.
[15] Golembeski, C., & Fullilove, R. (2005). Criminal (In)Justice in the City and Its Associated Health Consequences. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 1701-1706.
[16] Heckman, J. J., Moon, S. H., Pinto, R., Savelyev, P. A., & Yavitz, A. Q. (2010). The Rate of Return to the High Scope Perry Preschool Program. Journal of Public Economics, 94, 114-128.
[17] Kieffer, M. J. (2012). Early Oral Language and Later Reading Development in Spanish-Speaking English Language Learners: Evidence from a Nine-Year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33, 146-157.
[18] Macedo, E. C., Capovilla, F. C., Duduchi, M., D’antino, M. E. F., & Firmo, L. S. (2006). Evaluating Receptive Language by Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test: Computerized versus Traditional Versions. Psicologia: Teoria e Prática, 8, 40-50.
[19] McClelland, M. M., Acock, A. C., & Morrison, F. J. (2006). The Impact of Kindergarten Learning-Related Skills on Academic Trajectories at the End of Elementary School. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21, 471-490.
[20] Muennig, P., Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., & Neidell, M. (2009). Effects of a Pre-Kindergarten Educational Intervention on Adult Health: 37-Year Follow-Up Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 1431-1437.
[21] Muennig, P. (2014). Can Universal Pre-Kindergarten Programs Improve Population Health and Longevity? Mechanisms, Evidence, and Policy Implications. Social Science & Medicine, 127, 116-123.
[22] National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) (2008). Developing Early Literacy: A Scientific Synthesis of Early Literacy Development and Implications for Intervention.
[23] Nisbett, R. E. (2010). Think Big, Bigger... and Smaller. Educational Leadership, 68, 10-15.
[24] Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical Developments. American Psychologist, 67, 130-159.
[25] Noe, S., Spencer, T. D., Kruse, L., & Goldstein, H. (2014). Effects of a Tier 3 Phonological Awareness Intervention on Preschoolers’ Emergent Literacy. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 34, 27-39.
[26] O’Connor, R. E., Bocian, K., Beebe-Frankenberger, M., & Linklater, D. L. (2010). Responsiveness of Students with Language Difficulties to Early Intervention in Reading. The Journal of Special Education, 43, 220-235.
[27] Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development—OECD (2012). Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
[28] Organização das Nações Unidas [United Nations]—ONU (2010). United Nations Development Programme.
[29] Palmer, S. D., & Havelka, S. (2010). Age of Acquisition Effects in Vocabulary Learning. Acta Psychologica, 135, 310-315.
[30] Schneider, W. J., & McGrew, K. S. (2012). The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Model of Intelligence. In D. P. Flanagan, & P. L. Harrison (Ed.), Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests and Issues (3rd ed., pp. 553-581). New York: The Guilford Press.
[31] Seabra, A. G., & Capovilla, F. C. (2012). Prova de consciência fonológica por produção oral [Phonological Awareness Test]. In A. G. Seabra, & N. M. Dias (Eds.), Avaliação neuropsicológica cognitiva: Linguagem oral [Cognitive Neuropsychological Assessment: Oral Language] (Vol. 2, pp. 117-122). São Paulo, SP: Memnon Edições Científicas.
[32] Silke, F. S., Bowyer-Crane, C., Haley, A. J., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2013). Efficacy of Language Intervention in the Early Years. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatric, 54, 280-290.
[33] Skibbe, L. E., Grimm, K. J., Stanton-Chapman, T. L., Justice, L. M., Pence, K. L., & Bowles, R. P. (2008). Reading Trajectories of Children with Language Difficulties from Preschool through Fifth Grade. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39, 475-486.
[34] Spencer, E. J., Goldstein, H., Sherman, A., Noe, S., Tabbah, R., Ziolkowski, R., & Schneider, N. (2013). Effects of an Automated Vocabulary and Comprehension Intervention an Early Efficacy Study. Journal of Early Intervention, 34, 195-221.
[35] Vellutino, F. R., Scanlon, D. M., & Zhang, H. Y. (2007). Identifying Reading Disability Based on Response to Intervention: Evidence from Early Intervention Research. In S. R. Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. Van Der Heyden (Eds.), Handbook of Response to Intervention: The Science and Practice of Assessment and Intervention (pp. 185-211). Heidelberger: Springer Science & Business Media.
[36] Wolf, M., & Denckla, M. B. (2005). Rapid Automatized Naming and Rapid Alternating Stimulus Test. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.