Books and diapers may seem like an odd couple. In fact, diapers are an indispensible ingredient for early childhood success
Contradictory evidence is emerging as researchers attempt to replicate Hart and Risely's study. In short, there seems to be tremendous variation in the number of words that children in different households and communities are exposed to, as well as in their quality.
If this gap continues, the consequences could be dire.
Stick with the two Bs: Books and blocks.
Closing the gap matters for several reasons. Most importantly, without access to high-quality childcare, infants and toddlers from low-income families face increasingly steep developmental challenges.
If we decide to label children by what they are not, rather than who they are and the capabilities they can expand then we are stuck blaming children for what we don't think they can handle.
“We’re going to be able to reach parents and families in what is not often thought of as a critical setting,” Patti Miller
It's estimated that poor children, by the time they hit kindergarten, have heard 30 million fewer words than their more fortunate classmates. The Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail initiative is just one of the national efforts to increase the quantity of language that underprivileged preschoolers are exposed to. But is quantity enough?
Having books on the shelves of homes, classrooms, libraries, and community centers alone won't solve all our education challenges, but coupled with literacy programs and family engagement, it is one of the first, basic steps we can take to ensure all children are prepared to succeed academically.
With a boost from Hillary Clinton last weekend in San Diego, the American Academy of Pediatricians launched the next phase of its campaign to help close the "word gap" between children in high- and low-income families.