The Research Behind Read Right from the Start

Studies Show the Importance of Language Skills, Vocabulary and Comprehension for Young Children

Read Right from the Start is based on leading research in the field of early childhood education. We reviewed studies performed by social scientists, doctors, behaviorists and other child development experts. Combined, these researchers identified the most important elements for developing children’s language and vocabulary skills and we built strategies based on their findings and insights.

Some of the experts whose work informed us include:


W. Steven Barnett

Director, National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER), Rutgers University

Donna Bryant

Senior Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

David Dickinson

Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

Patricia K. Kuhl, Ph.D.

Professor and Co-Director, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington

Robert C. Pianta

Founding Director, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Jack Shonkoff

Professor of Child Health and Development, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Catherine Elizabeth Snow

Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Dana L. Suskind, MD

Founder and Director, 30 Million Words Initiative, The University of Chicago, Medicine

Anne Van Kleeck

Professor, Callier Center for Communication Disorders Research Scholar, University of Texas at Dallas

Maryanne Wolf

Director, Center for Reading and Language Research, Tufts University

Approximately 22 other Individuals at 10 Different Institutions


We also reviewed the work done by Betty Hart, a professor of Human Development at the University of Kansas and Todd R. Risley, a professor of Psychology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.


In 1995, they published Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, the culmination of two and half years of observational research and six years of data analysis.


They uncovered something they called, “the 30 million word gap.” A child in a low-income family was exposed to an average of 13 million words through the first four years of life while a child in a professional-class family was exposed to almost 45 million words. That 30 million word gap places children from low-income families at a disadvantage that, without immediate and concentrated intervention, leads to:


  • Below-average reading scores in 3rd grade and beyond
  • Increased likelihood for dropping out of school
  • Fewer opportunities for employment throughout life


Read Right from the Start provides early childhood educators techniques and resources to change children’s lives by giving them the gift of language.


If you’re an early childhood educator, start training with Read Right from the Start today.