A Family’s Socioeconomic Status Affects How Many Words Their Children Might Know

Here’ an interesting article on the now infamous word gap research. While it is widely understood that there is an academic achievement gap between low-income students and their more well-served peers, one of the contributing factors to this is what is known as the “word gap.” In short, it estimates that children from low-income families are exposed to roughly 30 million fewer words than more well-served students, by the time they enter kindergarten.

In a recent article, published by The Huffington Post, Wray Herbert explains, “nobody is arguing that this complex problem can be reduced to the sheer number of words children know, or that vocabulary building alone will solve it. Researchers, including those who first documented the word gap, have long argued that the quality of language — the complexity of words and grammar — is also a potent predictor, perhaps even more potent than quantity.”

Herbert goes further stating that a team of research scientists at Temple University have determined that there are three major factors that go into a child’s language development skills: symbolism (words and gestures), shared routines and rituals, as well as fluency and connectedness. What this means is that children require verbal engagement that also ties in gaze, gesture, vocalization and facial expression in order to begin to cement in a strong vocabulary. While it is still very important to expose children to a wide range of terminology from a young age, actually bridging the word gap is a much more complex issue.


Read the full article here, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Facebook!