Emerging Research: Fall HELP Reads Articles

In September I wrote a blog post about the monthly research review provided by the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia called HELP Reads. Moving forward I’m going to share a selection of articles from these reviews every quarter to highlight recent and relevant research to the field of children’s librarianship. Most of these studies come from outside of the field of librarianship which helps us understand our role in a larger societal context.

So what caught my eye in the October, November, and December issues? Here’s what I’m digging into (hello, deep work).

Early Years

A Guide to Serve and Return: How Your Interaction with Children Can Build Brains

Looks like Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child has a great new guide! Chalk full of early literacy tips we can pass on to caregivers.

How do grandparents influence child health and development? A systematic review

” First systematic review of the global evidence linking grandparents to child outcomes. ” Seriously?!

Intergenerational Programs in Early Childhood Education: An Innovative Approach that Highlights Inclusion and Engagement with Older Adults

If your library is looking at intergenerational programming, definitely check this one out.

Intervention Research to Improve Language-learning Opportunities and Address the Inequities of the Word Gap

I was kinda surprised to find an entire special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly devoted to the Word Gap as I thought it had been debunked. This issue looks at research with a “renewed interest in finding solutions to the word gap.”

Early Childhood Education and Crime

I love seeing these longitudinal studies that link things like early care and bigger societal impacts. This one started in 1972!

Middle Years

Social and emotional development in early adolescence: Tapping into the power of relationships and mentoring

I’ve read lots about SEL in the early years. This guide gives a thorough overview of what it means for school-age kids.

Designing Classrooms for Diversity: Fostering Social Inclusion

I’m curious if any of the strategies offered can be applied to library programs, especially since the abstract mentions the important role of the educator and group dynamics.

Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Language Skills and Promising School Interventions

I was surprised that the “impact of ACEs on the development of language skills specifically remains somewhat understudied.” They mention trauma-informed practice which is a concept I’ve seen mentioned other places and would like to know more about.

Multimodal meaning-making during play in two Northern Canadian Indigenous kindergarten classrooms

A very small sample size but an interesting look at how Indigenous learning looks different.

Technology and Media

Using Mobile Health to Promote Early Language Development: A Narrative Review

Can apps help parents promote their child’s language development? Research is finally being done in it.

Quality of interactive media use in early childhood and child development: a multicriteria analysis

Does the quality of media matter? What does quality look like? An important topic in the world of hours and minutes around the topic of screen time.

Associations Between Screen-Based Media Use and Brain White Matter Integrity in Preschool-Aged Children

Again, research is starting to emerge on the impact of screen use. As media mentors we need to be aware of it.

From ‘Screen Time’ to the Digital Level of Analysis: Protocol for a Scoping Review of Digital Media Use in Children and Adolescents

The article starts with “Research on the relationship between digital media exposure and child development is complex, inconsistent and fraught with debate.” Yep, yep, yep. How do we measure it and what’s the best way? This article explores that topic to guide future research.

Which ones look the most interesting to you? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Emerging Research: Fall HELP Reads Articles

  1. Hi Lindsay,
    A couple of comments.
    Regarding serve and return, I wonder if you are also familiar with Simple Interactions which is an application of that. https://www.simpleinteractions.org/the-si-tool.html They have developed a tool to work with parents and caregivers. Also this presentation from Junelei Li from Harvard was fascinating in several ways to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRa-ZIie5Bg highlighting the importance of relationships, not only with children, but with caregivers.

    I think the word gap itself has been debunked in favor of types of talk and number of back and forth interactions, but I think the term word gap is still an attention getter. Perhaps they used that as a “hook” to lead to the more in-depth, careful research that is being done and that is noted in the article.

    I had not seen the information on language in native cultures though I have long been aware of the fact that communication is different with indigenous groups. It was helpful to see it put into words. We need to be aware that in some cultures talking a lot is not a cultural value.

    THANK YOU for highlighting all this wonderful information for us!

    1. Yes, thanking for sharing the Simple Interactions tool and video by Junelei Li. I’ve been meaning to write an entire blog post about it.

      I agree about the attention grabbing quality of the phrase “word gap.” I also think the concept of the word gap appears as a simpler problem for researchers and policy makers to tackle – just talk more to kids! Of course, the solution, even the “problem,” isn’t so simple.

      I was really glad to see the article about the social interactions and language use of the Indigenous kids in kindergarten. I think that’s the kind of socio-cultural research Stooke and McKenzie call for in their article I reported on a few months ago. The challenge for me as a children’s librarian is to find that type of research and discuss its implications with my community.

  2. Some of these articles are hidden behind paywalls that I cannot access through library databases. Thoughts? How are you accessing them?

    1. Honestly this is one of the reasons it’s so hard for public librarians to stay on top of research. I have a few very nice academic librarian friends who will look up articles for me. Not a very useful solution – I’m sorry! I wish there was more I could do than point people in the right direction. Access is a huge issue.

      1. That is the ONLY thing I will miss about library school – having access to all the databases an academic library has!

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