Recently, while editing a piece for PBS NewsHour about ‘the vocabulary gap’ that develops in the first three years of life, I became acutely aware of the need for public action.
We know that about three-quarters of the children who aren’t reading competently and confidently by the end of third grade will never catch up. And while a staggering 91% of African-American boys are below grade level in reading in third grade, this is not a racial issue or problem. It’s a national crisis: 83% of all low-income children are behind.
That’s right: 83 percent.
But it’s not just about vocabulary. It’s about language, conversations, speaking and listening. Kids from affluent homes and kids who succeed in school acquire that wonderful vocabulary through conversations, not vocabulary drills.
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