Bristol Early Years Research and Development

Bristol Early Years Research
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Communication, Language and Literacy

Bristol’s longstanding commitment to improving outcomes for children and reducing inequality recognises the critical importance of building relationships and creating environments where children’s speech, language and communication can flourish.

Nationally and locally there is evidence that many children are experiencing delayed communication and language development and start school finding it difficult to express themselves clearly and confidently. This not only limits their ability to access the whole world of learning but can also affect their ability to make friends and gain a positive sense of identity.

child and adult talking

There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the relationship between oral fluency and vocabulary size in the early years and later life-long learning, including the development of reading and skills. This section of the website will focus on the importance of early communication, language and literacy, signposting research articles and capturing examples of outstanding practice.

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We believe that communication is the foundation for language and literacy.  Children are sensitive and enthusiastic communicators from birth and this early ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally is the basis on which language is developed.

As adults supporting these young learners, we need to tune into them.  Our approaches consider children from birth to KS1 and supports practitioners to develop quality provision that inspires all children to fulfil their potential as confident listeners, thinkers, talkers, readers and writers. 

"Literacy floats on a sea of talk" Britton 1970

Engage - Listen - Understand - Think - Talk - Converse - Read - Write
Core CLL approaches  
Developing Quality Interactions
  • Adult interactions
  • Peer interactions
  • Bristol Every Child a Talker (BECAT)
  • Developing the Key Person approach
  • Early Words Together (parent programme)
Systematic use of symbols and gesture
  • Makaton
  • Visual prompts/PECs
Singing and music
  • Talking tunes
  • Core songs & rhymes appraoch
  • Rhythm and rhyme activities
Early identification of children at risk of language delay
  • BECAT assessment
  • EAL assessment and tracking
  • Baseline assessment in Reception
  • Two year old integrated review
Bristol Story and Rhyme
  • Story making ©
  • Story Mapping ©
  • Story Square ©
Core Book Approach
  • Bookstart
  • Story props
  • Early Words Together (parent programme)
  • Dialogic book talk
Communication Enabling Environments
  • Developing the emotional environment
  • Auditing the language environment
  • Communication Friendly Spaces
  • Outdoor environment
  • Provocations for talk
  • Systematic Synthetic Phonics training
  • Letters and Sounds - making it meaningful and fun
Mark Making
  • Write Dance
  • Mark Making in continuous provision - inside and out
Writing Provocations for writing
Developing child initiated writing
Handwriting and fine motor skills
Developing Talk for Writing approaches

Related Report

Jarman, E. (2013) The Communication  Friendly Spaces™ Approach Informing the Appropriate  Expansion of Places for Two Year Olds.

Communication Friendly Spaces™ 'Reading Village'

Communication friendly spaces reading villageThe not-for-profit organisation, Communication Friendly Spaces has created a new portable 'Reading Village' to encourage children to read whilst tucked away from the hubbub of their surroundings. Using large, textured baskets, circular rugs and neutral screening, a temporary ‘retreat’ can be created in any classroom or hall. The portable ‘Village’ allows children to become absorbed in their books in a peaceful, enclosed environment. Visit the website here for more information.


 Read on get on logoThe Read On, Get On campaign (in conjunction with Save the Children) has published 'The Power of Reading', which highlights how governments have the power to unlock the potential in every child to read well by the time they leave primary school.  Download the full report by clicking on the logo to the left.





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