Closing The Achievement Gap With Baby Talk

Last week NPR had a story about the importance of infants, toddlers and preschoolers having rich experiences with language.

I recommend the story (you can listen by clicking here) and the book that reports the data discussed in the NPR story.  I believe every school leader, educator and board member would benefit from knowing about this data.  I also believe as a result of this data the educational system would develop and strengthen its commitment to helping families embrace the behaviors and habits associated with optimal language development for preschoolers.

The NPR story is based on the research reported in a 1995 publications titled: Meaningful Differences: In the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children by Betty Hart and Todd R. Ridley.  This is a book I have assigned to be read in the Schools, Families and Communities class I have taught at MSU from time to time.   I know I am repeating myself here: I do so for emphasis. I highly recommend reading the book.

“This monumental book traces the complex issues involved with the intergenerational transmission of competence and unveils some astonishing predictors found in the simple interactions between parents and their 1- and 2-year-old children. Meticulously recorded data, presented in detective-like style that grabs each and every reader, provide the scientific evidence underlying an alarming gap between the vocabularies of children from educated, advantaged families and children from families of low socioeconomic status -a gap that translates into widely different academic and intellectual performances as the children grow. As its many endorsers attest, this book is an absolute requisite for professionals in psychology, child and social development, speech and language, education, and early intervention, as well as critical reading for concerned families and the nation’s policy makers.” This quote is taken from the Amazon website hyperlinked above.

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