June 25, 2015I will no longer be updating this website. The traffic on this site is low and the response effort to maintain it is too high. I will instead be focusing on the Facebook page and Twitter account for CDBS, both of which generate much more activity than the website. If you are a fan of CDBS, please don't leave! Simply follow me on Facebook or Twitter...
Monday, October 22, 2012
Before a Test, a Poverty of Words
Things are very different elsewhere on the class spectrum. Earlier in the year when I met Steven F. Wilson, founder of a network of charter schools that serve poor and largely black communities in Brooklyn, I asked him what he considered the greatest challenge on the first day of kindergarten each year. He answered, without a second’s hesitation: “Word deficit.” As it happens, in the ’80s, the psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley spent years cataloging the number of words spoken to young children in dozens of families from different socioeconomic groups, and what they found was not only a disparity in the complexity of words used, but also astonishing differences in sheer number. Children of professionals were, on average, exposed to approximately 1,500 more words hourly than children growing up in poverty. This resulted in a gap of more than 32 million words by the time the children reached the age of 4. more