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The Early Words Together Story


“What parents do is more important than who parents are”  - from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project (2004)


Early Words Together and the research

Early Words Together programme is based on the findings of the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) project. It aims to close the gap in children’s early communication, language and literacy skills, through working with parents to improve the home learning environment.

The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project (2004) investigated the effects of pre-school education on the development of children aged three to seven. The study used a group of children who had no pre-school experience and compared them with a pre-school group of children, at entry to primary school. It was found that high quality provision had positive effects on children’s intellectual, social and behavioural development, at entry to primary school, as well as at the end of years one and two of primary school. The project also revealed findings on the importance of the home learning environment. It found the quality of the home learning environment to be more influential on a child’s intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income. It was found that activities parents or carers carried out, such as reading with the child, singing songs and rhymes, playing with letters and visiting the library were all associated with children’s higher intellectual and social/behavioural scores.

You can read the research in full here. 


EWT pearson photoEarly Words Together supports children:

  • Aged two to five
  • Experiencing language delays
  • In need of greater parental engagement in their development and learning

Early Words Together:

  • Improves the home learning environment, so that the positive parental behaviours continue beyond the programme.
  • Increases children’s understanding of spoken language
  • Increases children’s language acquisition
  • Increases the frequency of the use of books, songs and rhymes in the home

The uniqueness of Early Words Together

Early Words Together is a unique programme, it empowers parents to support their child’s learning and development. It does this by engaging volunteers in promoting the importance of literacy, through enabling (not teaching) and providing peer support. Volunteers work collaboratively with parents in a way that is non-judgemental, avoids dependency and is solution-focused. This in turn, empowers volunteers within their own communities.


“The success of this programme in engaging the hard to reach families…is exactly the sort of evidence that Ofsted are looking for.” Head Teacher, St Patrick’s RC Primary School, Rochdale


The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.