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Why the urgency of addressing the word gap?

  • We understand the lifelong consequences of inadequate exposure to talk and language experiences
  • We have established evidence-based interventions, but we have yet to bring them to scale
  • Many children and families from low-income backgrounds are still not reaping the benefits from this research

Why the time is right to bridge research and practice

  • The 30 million Word Gap was identified over 20 years ago
  • Research has provided an understanding of the Word Gap and its consequences
  • Communities have begun area-wide campaigns to spread the word
  • Public officials are speaking out
  • Research points to the malleability of the Word Gap

Meet the team

The Bridging the Word Gap Research Network is made up of more than 180 nationally recognized researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and funders working together to develop and push forward a coordinated national research agenda to develop individual, community, and population-based interventions that address the word gap experienced by young children in poverty.


Central Coordination

Central coordination is charged with planning, managing, and evaluating the work and progress of the BWG Research Network, and consists of the PI, Co-PIs, Project Coordinator, and administrative team at the University of Kansas. Drs Judith Carta (PI), Charlie Greenwood (Co-PI), Dale Walker (Co-PI) and Alana Schnitz  (CO-I)

Leadership Team

The leadership team is an interdisciplinary group made up of distinguished scientists selected for their roles because of their expertise in carrying out intervention research that has made a difference in the lives of young children and their families in poverty.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board was constructed to represent diverse stakeholders and social cultural groups, and disciplines. They represent some of the major organizations providing funding for community-wide initiatives to bridge the word gap, national educational programs focused on improving the outcomes of young children growing up in poverty, and organizations focused on engaging parents in promoting children’s early development.

Work Groups

Each of the seven work groups has been constructed to include some of the most prominent researchers who have conducted studies germane to the work group topic.

Emerging Research Scholars

The Bridging the Word Gap Research Network has established an Early Research Scholars program identifying six promising scholars and providing them with training, mentorship, and practice-based research and publication opportunities.

Collaborating Research Partners

The CRE group is made up of approximately 50 people working on six different word gap interventions and initiatives across the United States. The group gathers monthly to share practical information and new knowledge gained from their projects and research.