There was recently a fascinating story on NPR about closing the achievement gap between high and low-income children by focusing on parent-infant interactions. It may seem odd that child development specialists have turned their attention to infants. Isn’t this too young to worry about achievement gaps that are seen many years later?
After further investigation, researchers found that one of the primary reasons for this disparity was due to the amount of time parents spend talking to their young children. In a 1995 study, researchers found that low-income children heard about 600 words per hour, compared to 2,100 words per hour in a higher-income family. It became clear to researchers that exposure to language was one of the key factors to help close the achievement gap they were seeing in these children years later.