By Elizabeth Primas (Program Manager, NNPA/ESSA Public Awareness Campaign)
We are our children’s first teachers, and what we teach them makes a difference.
According to research by Betty Hart of the University of Kansas and Todd Risley of the University of Alaska, by age 3, poor children have an accumulated experience with 30 million less words than their wealthier counterparts; a greater percentage of the words that poor children accumulate were discouraging compared to their wealthier peers.
We have to read more to our children and encourage them to read more for themselves.
Books not only promote literacy, they also encourage our children to see themselves as an integral and valued part of the society in which they live. Walter Dean Myers, author of the critically acclaimed “Monster,” asserts that exposure to culturally relevant books can lead to self validation and higher self esteem for young people.