Providence, R.I., Wins $5 Million to Improve Early Literacy

Providence, R.I., Wins $5 Million to Improve Early Literacy

This blog entry from the “Early Years”, one of Education Week’s blogs, follows up nicely on the video I posted yesterday of Sam and my comments about the connection between vocabulary development and literacy skills.  Julie Blair writes in the above-linked blog about a program called Providence Talks, which provides poor families with recording devices that attach to their children to encourage parents and caregivers to talk more to children.  She explains that the program aims to solve the problem that children growing up in low-income households hear 30 million fewer words by their fourth birthday than their middle- and high-income peers.  

Information gathered from the recording devices that clip to the children’s clothing includes how many words are spoken to a child, what vocabulary words are used, and how many interactions the child has with adults.  The information is shared parents/caregivers during monthly coaching sessions.  Families also receive information on community literacy programs.  

Blair shares this very powerful summary statement with us regarding the success of the program:  Caretakers presented with the data on their child’s vocabulary development increased their daily word count by 55 percent on average.  What a blessing for those children with regard to their school readiness!

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