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30 million Word Gap: Disrupting Kids in Poverty

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Printed Date: Nov 24 2017 at 4:30pm


Topic: 30 million Word Gap: Disrupting Kids in Poverty
Posted By: purpulicious01
Subject: 30 million Word Gap: Disrupting Kids in Poverty
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 9:37am

Can We Disrupt Poverty by Changing How Poor Parents Talk to Their Kids?

Can We Disrupt Poverty by Changing How Poor Parents Talk to Their Kids?

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Small children in the most talkative homes hear, on average, 20,000 to 30,000 words in a day. That number may sound implausible. But all of the overheard conversations, nursery rhymes, and admonishments add up.

And, for upper-income children, they add up much faster than they do in homes deep in poverty. This creates a socioeconomic "word gap" between low- and high-income children.

This gap exists in the difference between reading and watching TV. It's in the difference between handing a toddler a bowl of cereal, and using that cereal as a ploy to talk about mouths and tummies. The gap widens because a low-income parent, who works two jobs, isn't around as much to talk to her children, or has less energy when she is home. And it grows because a child whose parents cannot afford a stuffed elephant may never have much reason to talk about elephants at all.

By the time poor children are 3, researchers believe they have heard on average about  http://tmw.org/tmw-initiative/" rel="nofollow - 30 million fewer words  than children the same age from better-off families, setting back their vocabulary, cognitive development, and future reading skills before the first day of school. This disadvantage is "already almost irreversible," says Kenneth Wong, a professor of education policy at Brown University.

In Providence, many of these children fill up the public-school system: 87 percent of students district-wide here are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Come January, the city plans to launch an unconventional intervention with a few dozen low-income children—then hundreds more—in a bid to alter their life prospects by changing how their parents talk to them.

"Unfortunately, Providence takes turns, it seems, with Detroit and New Orleans to see who's going to lead in childhood poverty," says John Kelly, CEO of Meeting Street, which runs an Early Head Start home-visitation program in town that will be central to the initiative, called Providence Talks. "That doesn't create always healthy, happy home environments."

Providence won a  http://www.providenceri.com/mayor/providence-named-as-grand-prize-winner-in" rel="nofollow - $5 million grant  over three years from Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop the initiative in partnership with community-service providers, researchers at Brown, and a Colorado foundation that's figured out how to build a pedometer for words.

The device, a 2-ounce specialized recorder about the size of a deck of cards, maps the intensity of communication between parents and children. The infants and toddlers in Providence Talks will wear it twice a month, tucked into a custom-made vest, for 12 to 16 hours at a time. The recorder then plugs into a computer, where software automatically converts the audio files into charts that can be used by Meeting Street to coach the parents on how and when they might speak to their children more often.

The project has attracted national attention for both the Bloomberg money and the curious technology. Providence Talks is also novel for its high stakes: Mayor Angel Taveras wants to scale the initiative citywide, while privacy advocates  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/06/providence_talks_program_and_the_rise_of_social_engineering_surveillance.html" rel="nofollow - raise concerns  about the program's intrusion into residents' lives. Bloomberg's not-for-profit gave Providence this money on the gamble that it could validate a chain reaction that other cities could follow. Close the word gap, advocates say, and you might close the achievement gap and maybe even disrupt the cycle of poverty.


* Read the rest of the article here:  http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/12/one-citys-plan-change-how-poor-parents-talk-their-kids/7897/" rel="nofollow - http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/12/one-citys-plan-change-how-poor-parents-talk-their-kids/7897/







Replies:
Posted By: tatee
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 10:00am
Quote
By the time poor children are 3, researchers believe they have heard on average about  http://tmw.org/tmw-initiative/" rel="nofollow - 30 million fewer words  than children the same age from better-off families, setting back their vocabulary, cognitive development, and future reading skills before the first day of school. This disadvantage is "already almost irreversible," says Kenneth Wong, a professor of education policy at Brown University.


 wow


Posted By: trudawg
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 10:11am
This is so fundamental to the our learning and achievement gaps. I think parents keep the cycle going by doing what was done to them by their parents. In some ways it may seem absurd to carry on conversations with babies and small children, because we have that "stay out of grown-folk" mentality when it comes to communicating with our children. People wonder why low income minorities tend to perform lower on standardized test and LSAT exams. I'm really glad to see it being addressed.


Posted By: purpulicious01
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 10:18am
^ Great point




Forgot to add extra readings for those interested in this topic: 

Thirty Million Words Initiative
http://tmw.org/tmw-initiative/" rel="nofollow - http://tmw.org/tmw-initiative/  

"Closing the Word Gap Between Rich and Poor"
http://www.npr.org/2013/12/29/257922222/closing-the-word-gap-between-rich-and-poor?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook" rel="nofollow - http://www.npr.org/2013/12/29/257922222/closing-the-word-gap-between-rich-and-poor?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

"How to Make Toddlers Smarter: Talk to Them"
http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2013/10/25-how-to-make-toddlers-smarter-talk-to-them-sanghavi" rel="nofollow - http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2013/10/25-how-to-make-toddlers-smarter-talk-to-them-sanghavi

"How Do You Educate Kids Before Their Education Begins? Talk (a Lot)"
http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/November-2013/How-To-Educate-Kids-Before-Their-Education-Begins-Talk-a-Lot/" rel="nofollow - http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/November-2013/How-To-Educate-Kids-Before-Their-Education-Begins-Talk-a-Lot/


Posted By: afrokock
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 4:16pm
how do poor africans and indians have a better understanding and wider english vocabulary than their first world compadres?


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 4:31pm
Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

how do poor africans and indians have a better understanding and wider english vocabulary than their first world world immigrants?


My opinion is that majority of Africans and Indians that comes to the US tends to be college educated and thus tend to focus more on education early on.  More likely to spend money on books than on latest shoes and clothes.  Again my opinion.


Posted By: afrokock
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 4:35pm
using that rational (two languages) and only spending 7.5hrs at school/day wouldnt their command of english thus be poorer?

if english is their second language of course!


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 4:35pm
Plus it might be that since most Africans and Indians are bilingual but tend to speak in their native language at home or with others of the same ethnic and their kids learn English at school.  I read somewhere that kids who grew up speaking a second language have a more developed English vocabulary.  Or something of that nature, I forget.


Posted By: afrokock
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 4:37pm
Originally posted by SamoneLenior SamoneLenior wrote:


it's not simply black vs white



nor is it simply language.

the only way out of poverty isnt by speaking well, its by creating economic opportunities that are fair and removing the inequities that foster poverty

the article is an excuse

blame the poor people yet again


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 7:36pm
Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

using that rational (two languages) and only spending 7.5hrs at school/day wouldnt their command of english thus be poorer?

if english is their second language of course!


I don't think so.  Don't forget that there is TV, social media, and printed material.  Plus kids (10 and under) tend to learn languages faster than older children and adults.  I read somewhere a lot of brain growth happens between the ages of 0 - 3 years.  This is where the base of learning occurs and kind of sets the stage in how successful a child will be in school. 


Posted By: trudawg
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 7:51pm
Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

Originally posted by SamoneLenior SamoneLenior wrote:


it's not simply black vs white



nor is it simply language.

the only way out of poverty isnt by speaking well, its by creating economic opportunities that are fair and removing the inequities that foster poverty

the article is an excuse

blame the poor people yet again


An Excuse?

No where in the article did I read that the breadth of ones' vocabulary will solve ALL economic inequalities. It's simply one of many factors that contribute to the under-performance of low-income children. 


Posted By: femmemichelle
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 7:58pm
Originally posted by NARSAddict NARSAddict wrote:

Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

how do poor africans and indians have a better understanding and wider english vocabulary than their first world world immigrants?


My opinion is that majority of Africans and Indians that comes to the US tends to be college educated and thus tend to focus more on education early on.  More likely to spend money on books than on latest shoes and clothes.  Again my opinion.

I really need people to stop propagating this lie. I have met maybe a handful of Africans who came to the Americas with a degree. The majority of our parents started off with nothing and either won some form of lottery or high tailed it over here through any means necessary via a sister or brother who was already here.

My father had a high school education and my mother a middle school education when she came. However, she made SURE I always had a book in my hand. She didn't take any sh*t from me when it came to school. It was literally do or die in my family. Asian and African immigrants simply do not take their education for granted when given the opportunity to receive one.





Posted By: melikey
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 8:13pm
i have grown up around plenty of poor children, none of them have language issues. and saying that poor women don't speak to their kids is just plain insulting. the kids i know spoke the non-standard english the same way they were spoken to. so basically all this article is saying is that children who grow up in households with with poor standard english language skills will themselves have poor standard english language skills and will therefore will be at a disadvantage when competing in a society that refuses to acknowledge the way they speak at home as a legitimate dialect and therefore requiring a specialized way of teaching standard english in schools vs. native "standard" english speakers.


and i'm not sure how nationality came up in this thread, it has no place IMO. 


Posted By: f8dagrate
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 9:32pm
Originally posted by trudawg trudawg wrote:

Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

Originally posted by SamoneLenior SamoneLenior wrote:


it's not simply black vs white



nor is it simply language.

the only way out of poverty isnt by speaking well, its by creating economic opportunities that are fair and removing the inequities that foster poverty

the article is an excuse

blame the poor people yet again


An Excuse?

No where in the article did I read that the breadth of ones' vocabulary will solve ALL economic inequalities. It's simply one of many factors that contribute to the under-performance of low-income children. 


@Trudwag I Heart your font.


Posted By: coconess
Date Posted: Dec 31 2013 at 10:00pm
nvm.. let me read it all 



Posted By: trudawg
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 3:09am
Originally posted by melikey melikey wrote:

i have grown up around plenty of poor children, none of them have language issues. and saying that poor women don't speak to their kids is just plain insulting. the kids i know spoke the non-standard english the same way they were spoken to. so basically all this article is saying is that children who grow up in households with with poor standard english language skills will themselves have poor standard english language skills and will therefore will be at a disadvantage when competing in a society that refuses to acknowledge the way they speak at home as a legitimate dialect and therefore requiring a specialized way of teaching standard english in schools vs. native "standard" english speakers.


and i'm not sure how nationality came up in this thread, it has no place IMO. 


Melikey, I think you're misunderstanding the point. It's nothing to do with language skills and dialect. It amounts to lack of exposure to a vast array of words in the vocabulary. For instance, if you're not talking about computer processors in your home, then chances are, you're children won't know WTF a computer processor is at a younger age.


Posted By: Sang Froid
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 3:20am
I wonder how much my parents spoke to me when I was lil'.
Cause I'm an impeccable speaker.


Posted By: Senior Detective
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 7:59am
Ermm


Posted By: Senior Detective
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 8:02am
Originally posted by melikey melikey wrote:

i have grown up around plenty of poor children, none of them have language issues. and saying that poor women don't speak to their kids is just plain insulting. the kids i know spoke the non-standard english the same way they were spoken to. so basically all this article is saying is that children who grow up in households with with poor standard english language skills will themselves have poor standard english language skills and will therefore will be at a disadvantage when competing in a society that refuses to acknowledge the way they speak at home as a legitimate dialect and therefore requiring a specialized way of teaching standard english in schools vs. native "standard" english speakers.


and i'm not sure how nationality came up in this thread, it has no place IMO. 
it is not a legitimate dialect


Posted By: Sang Froid
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 8:06am
Good morning Bunny.


Posted By: Senior Detective
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 8:06am
hi


Posted By: NARSAddict
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 10:46am
Originally posted by femmemichelle femmemichelle wrote:

Originally posted by NARSAddict NARSAddict wrote:

Originally posted by afrokock afrokock wrote:

how do poor africans and indians have a better understanding and wider english vocabulary than their first world world immigrants?


My opinion is that majority of Africans and Indians that comes to the US tends to be college educated and thus tend to focus more on education early on.  More likely to spend money on books than on latest shoes and clothes.  Again my opinion.

I really need people to stop propagating this lie. I have met maybe a handful of Africans who came to the Americas with a degree. The majority of our parents started off with nothing and either won some form of lottery or high tailed it over here through any means necessary via a sister or brother who was already here.

My father had a high school education and my mother a middle school education when she came. However, she made SURE I always had a book in my hand. She didn't take any sh*t from me when it came to school. It was literally do or die in my family. Asian and African immigrants simply do not take their education for granted when given the opportunity to receive one.





Well I am basing this on some research that was conducted in my city by this organization that I used to volunteer for in the past. 


Posted By: melikey
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 11:13am
Originally posted by trudawg trudawg wrote:

Originally posted by melikey melikey wrote:

i have grown up around plenty of poor children, none of them have language issues. and saying that poor women don't speak to their kids is just plain insulting. the kids i know spoke the non-standard english the same way they were spoken to. so basically all this article is saying is that children who grow up in households with with poor standard english language skills will themselves have poor standard english language skills and will therefore will be at a disadvantage when competing in a society that refuses to acknowledge the way they speak at home as a legitimate dialect and therefore requiring a specialized way of teaching standard english in schools vs. native "standard" english speakers.


and i'm not sure how nationality came up in this thread, it has no place IMO. 


Melikey, I think you're misunderstanding the point. It's nothing to do with language skills and dialect. It amounts to lack of exposure to a vast array of words in the vocabulary. For instance, if you're not talking about computer processors in your home, then chances are, you're children won't know WTF a computer processor is at a younger age.


The article says they are not speaking, not that they are not being exposed to a variety of subject matter. poor children are exposed to language, food, art and culture that is relevant to them at a young age. Because the name of specific dance moves or certain cuisine isn't relevant to the majority culture, it has been dismissed. I can't tell you the number of times i have visited young children from where i grew up and I have to ask THEM what certain words they are using mean. When i ask their parents if they know, the parents know the word too. Because I am not immersed in the culture like I used to be, I missed out. I just think this article missed the mark completely. 


Posted By: melikey
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 11:14am
Originally posted by Senior Detective Senior Detective wrote:

Originally posted by melikey melikey wrote:

i have grown up around plenty of poor children, none of them have language issues. and saying that poor women don't speak to their kids is just plain insulting. the kids i know spoke the non-standard english the same way they were spoken to. so basically all this article is saying is that children who grow up in households with with poor standard english language skills will themselves have poor standard english language skills and will therefore will be at a disadvantage when competing in a society that refuses to acknowledge the way they speak at home as a legitimate dialect and therefore requiring a specialized way of teaching standard english in schools vs. native "standard" english speakers.


and i'm not sure how nationality came up in this thread, it has no place IMO. 
it is not a legitimate dialect


well I will take the word of PhDs who have done research on the topic over yours. but thanks.


Posted By: afrokock
Date Posted: Jan 01 2014 at 12:14pm



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