Limited Access to Books in Poor Neighborhood Takes a Toll on Children

"241/365: Yellopen" by bradleypjohnson licensed under CC BY 2.0
241/365: Yellopen” by bradleypjohnson licensed under CC BY 2.0

Source: The Atlantic

Extensive research and studies have found that lack of access to books in low-income neighborhoods inhibits cognitive development and educational opportunities for children.

By the age of four, a child from a middle-class, white family has heard over 45 million words from the English language, while a child from a low-income family has heard perhaps around 13 million words — and books are a huge part of language development.

In low-income neighborhoods, it is nearly impossible to access children’s book. One study found that for every 300 children only about one children’s book is available, compared to 13 books per child in a middle-class neighborhood.

Poor families are less likely to utilize local libraries for fear of paying fees, having their names associated with a governmental establishment, or simply are not familiar with the service; only eight percent of poor families use libraries, one study reported. Other obstacles include a lack of book stores in low-income communities; in-access to internet in the home limits a family’s ability to purchase books; about 40 percent of these families do not have access to the internet on mobile devices.

These disparities are most prominent in the low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Detroit and Washington D.C., reported a study from childhood- and literacy-education researcher at New York University, Susan Neuman, who served as the assistant education secretary under George W. Bush.

Read full story: The Atlantic

Children & Families, Education, Justice & Poverty, News
Children & Families, Education, Justice & Poverty, News