Thursday, January 02, 2014

Closing The 'Word Gap' Between Rich And Poor

In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families—some poor, some middle class, some rich—during the first three years of their new children's lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families' homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household. What they found came to be known as the "word gap." It turned out, by the age of 3, children born into low-income families heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers...Next month, with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Taveras' city will launch "Providence Talks," a new effort to take on the "word gap." Providence will distribute small recording devices—essentially word pedometers—that tuck into the vest of a child's clothing. These will automatically record and calculate the number of words spoken and the number of times a parent and child quickly ask and answer each other's questions. more

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