WORD Lab

Child sitting on a book

Welcome to WORD Lab

Welcome to the WORD Lab (short for "Word and Object Reasoning Development Lab" because we study how children learn and reason about words and objects). We are especially interested in learning more about the processes that underlie young children's cognitive development.

Reading the Same Stories Again!

The Again! Project is an initiative run by Durham County Council, in cooperation with Seven Stories in Newcastle. The inspiration for the project was the WORD Lab research demonstrating that reading the same stories again and again helps children learn new words (see below).

The Again! Project provides books and training to staff at local children's centres and nursery settings. The staff learn about the benefits of reading the same stories repeatedly and take this knowledge back to their children. Children between 2 and 3 years are read the same stories again and again--and they love it! At some centres they are even promoting this kind of reading with even younger children. As of September 2014, 71 settings (26 children's centres and 45 nurseries) were participating, some for the third time. The response from the staff, children and parents has been outstanding. Many parents are reporting their children are more interested in reading books, talking about books and are even improving their concentration skills.

We are delighted to support the Again! Project and to know that our research is making a valuable difference to real children, particularly children for whom shared storybook reading is a new activity.

Our Research

Young children are in the midst of learning a great deal about the world around them, including learning several words a day and all about new categories. How they are able to learn so much so quickly and efficiently is one of the questions we seek to answer with our research. Most -- but not all! -- of our studies involve teaching children new words and examining how we can help children remember and recall the words they are learning.

We use various methods to explore children's cognitive development (including playing games and reading storybooks). We hope to learn more about how cognitive development is influenced by the past, the recent past and what is going on in the moment children hear a new word. We hope that the findings of our work will contribute to our collective understanding of developmental psychology and ultimately help others with learning impairments.

You can also find out more about the kinds of things we study in the WORD Lab by watching this clip of Jessica Horst and Jo Frost

or by reading about our research at:

The National Literacy Trust, The British Psyhological Society, Dyslexia Untied and Dyslexia a2z

Nursery World Magazine, WhatToExpect.com, mom.me, ChildUp, KidzList, Smart Parenting, Growing Your Baby, The Family Centre, Once Upon a Child and The Sudocrem Blog

Medical Express, Counsel and Heal and MDConnects

just to name a few websites you may have heard of.

Here one mother discusses ways to read the same story again and again and includes book recommendations.