Closing the gap
A recent study published by Stanford University scientists in the journal Developmental Science (vol.16:2, 2013, p.234), corroborates that children from lower-income families and less educated parents usually have poorer language skills and show substandard scores on language development tests by the time they enter school. And as predicted, the children of better educated and more affluent parents do better on language development tests, as well as on subsequent educational activities.
The study, conducted over a span of fifty years, suggests that the fundamental difference in language development between rich and poor children lies in the amount of language stimulation that the parents provide to their infants. At 2 years of age, lower-income children may already be six months behind in language development.
This study is important not only because it is the first scientific attempt to identify and corroborate an achievement gap, but also because it could inform strategies for educational intervention–such as early literacy–to support the needs of disadvantaged children.
Closing the language development gap through promoting and supporting early literacy is very much at the core of what we do at the Green Branch Library, with the advantage that our books empower and educate children about environmental and social justice issues.
It is difficult to avoid feeling troubled and saddened by the results of this type of research; however, these negative facts help us to reaffirm our commitment to continue providing educational materials to help reduce the disparities that begin at such an early stage in life.
In a few weeks the Green Branch Library will be launching its first campaign to raise funds so that we can purchase a vehicle and start a bookmobile. This bookmobile will help us to enhance the services we provide, as well as to extend our services to other Bay Area communities.
We hope that you can continue supporting the Green Branch Library during our bookmobile project.