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Vocabulary Gap Study: Parents and Caregivers are Critical to Children's Success

Contact: Anastasia Ordonez
[email protected]

New Vocabulary Gap Study Provides Further Evidence That Parents and Caregivers Are Critical to Help Children Succeed

Statement from Ann O’Leary, Next Generation

"In today's New York Times, we learned about new research by Stanford Psychology Professor Anne Fernald and her colleagues that adds powerful evidence to the theory that children's learning starts very early. Professor Fernald’s research shows that by the time children are two years old, there is already a gap in language proficiency of six months between higher- and lower-income children. But income does not have to predict life long learning outcomes. As we noted in our Too Small to Fail strategic road map:

[M]ore than income or education, knowledge about child development seems to predict the frequency and quality of a mother’s communication with her child. Low-income mothers may underestimate by as much as 50 percent the impact that they can have on their children’s cognitive development. This is in marked contrast with high-income parents, who on average appear to accurately understand the benefits of parental investment in children. All parents want what’s best for their children. Because it appears that parents who understand the value of investing their time in their children are likely to invest more of it, simply talking to children matters: early language experience strengthens processing and builds vocabulary. Empowering low-income parents with this information could improve outcomes for children by 10 percent or more by age 2.5.”

Parents have the power to help their children succeed in learning and in life through small acts that can have a big impact. Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton recently outlined how we can close the “word gap” in a Too Small to Fail blog, and help children climb out of poverty by communicating with parents about specific actions they can take at home to help prepare children for school and beyond. It is critical for families and the future of our country that we turn these numbers around, which is exactly what the Too Small to Fail campaign is focused on."

Too Small to Fail is a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five.”


About Next Generation

Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change, and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.

Learn more at www.thenextgeneration.orgwww.facebook.com/thenextgeneration.org and on Twitter @nextgen_USA.

Visit Too Small to Fail at www.toosmall.orgwww.facebook.com/2smalltofail and on Twitter @2smalltofail.