Early Literacy

Two funded projects explore the role of language and early literacy skills in preschoolers with typical and atypical development for their later reading and writing abilities at primary school: 1) the Talk project (2017-1-IT02-KA201-036595) under the Erasmus+ Programme, funded with support from the European Commission; and 2) the Joint Project “Language in Context: an innovative intervention program focused on supportive, interactive contexts for preschool children with Cochlear Implants: evaluation of their effectiveness and their influence on literacy”, with the collaboration of Cochlear Italia.

1) Teaching and Assessing Language for Kids – TALK (Erasmus+ Programme)

This study uses an innovative approach combining a range of methodologies in a cross-cultural perspective with the aim to facilitate the assessment of early competencies and early intervention and to support children’s learning competencies in preschool and primary school.

The specific aims are:

  • to assess the early skills of children in preschool by using an innovative instrument (the Talk-assessment);
  • to implement an intervention programme (the Talk-programme) to support language and literacy acquisition in children and to provide teachers with support strategies to improve children’s skills and to facilitate social inclusion;
  • to assess the relationship between early skills in preschool and subsequent learning abilities in primary school;
  • to compare the use of the TALK assessment and of the Talk-programme in different cultural contexts (i.e., Italy, Belgium, and Romania). This action will allow to share knowledge and best practices for inclusion across countries and to promote integration and collaboration among international partners.

The target groups of the research are two preschools and two primary schools in each country (Italy, Belgium, and Romania). The project aims to share the research findings and good practices relative to the identification and treatment of early language and learning fragilities among teachers. The implementation of the project will have an indirect effect on the quality of life, well-being, and communication strategies of the participants. In addition, it will support and help teachers and caregivers to prevent children’s long-term difficulties.


Literacy development, early competences, well-being, social inclusion

Principal Investigator

Majorano Marinella, University of Verona

Project Partners

  • Hogeschool Gent, Belgium
  • Asociatia Specialistilor in Terapia Tulburarilor de Limbaj din Romania, Romania
  • Progetto Crescere Soc. Coop. Soc., Italy
  • Zwiazek Stowarzysen Multikultura, Poland

Project Participants


24 months (September 2017- September 2019)

Current State

Data collection is completed; the results relative to the Talk-assessment across countries and to the effects of the Italian intervention are published.


Majorano, M., Bastianello, T., Bodea-Hategan, C., Fantuzzi, P., Fontana, G., Hoste, E., Lombardi M., Standaert A., Talas, D., Trifu, R., Vescogni, L., & Persici, V. (2021). Language and early literacy evaluation in preschool: A cross-linguistic comparison among Belgian, Italian and Romanian children using the Talk assessment. Child and Youth Care Forum. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-021-09611-7

Majorano, M., Persici, V., Ferrari, R., Bertelli, B, & Bastianello, T. (2021). Talk—An Intervention Programme for Enhancing Early Literacy Skills in Preschool Children: A Pilot Study. Child Care in Practice. https://doi.org/10.1080/13575279.2021.1929844

Conference presentations

Bastianello, T., & Majorano, M. (2019). La valutazione delle competenze linguistiche nella scuola dell’infanzia: uno studio preliminare. CLASTA, Verona, Italy, May 2019, p. 18.

Majorano, M., & Bastianello, T. (2019). Early Predictors Of Literacy Skills: An Intervention Program For Italian Preschool Children. 19th ECDP, Atene, Greece, August 2019, p. 588.


2) Language in Context: an innovative intervention programme focused on supportive interactive contexts for preschool children with Cochlear Implants: evaluation of their effectiveness and their influence on literacy (Joint Project 2018)

The present project aims to test the efficacy of an intervention programme developed to support literacy skills development at home (the “Simo-syl” programme) in two groups of Italian pre-schoolers (typically developing children, TD-group, and deaf children, CI-group). The specific aims of the project are:

  • To promote innovative practices to enhance reading and writing acquisition at primary school.
  • To promote the use of a multidimensional and comprehensive assessment to test language (i.e., comprehension and production) and early literacy skills (i.e., phonological awareness, oral language, and meta phonology).
  • To create an original intervention programme (Simo-syl) based on information and communication technology to increase the language and communication skills and later literacy development of children with CIs or with typical development.

The study will compare 20 preschool children with CIs participating in the early intervention programme (CI) with 20 children with CIs exposed to a control treatment (CI-C). Two additional groups of 30 age-matched typically developing children will be involved in the project: one group participating in the same intervention programme as the children with CIs (TD-T) and the other participating in a control intervention program (TD-C).


Cochlear implant, emotional co-regulation, syllabic approach, intervention, preschool

Principal Investigator

Marinella Majorano, University of Verona

Project Partner

  • “Guglielmo da Saliceto” Hospital, Piacenza

Project Participants


42 months (January 2019- )

Current State

Data collection in progress (pre- and post-intervention completed, follow-up in progress); data analyses in progress; first results presented at Conference.

Conference presentations

Bastianello, T., Persici, V., Ferrari, R., Bertelli, B., & Majorano, M. (2021). “Simo-syl”: A computer-based programme to enhance child’s emergent literacy skills. CSEDU, Virtual event, 23-25 April 2021.