Monday, October 25, 2010

Improving Mother's Literacy Improves Disadvantaged Child's Academic Performance

From NIH news release, "Improving mothers' literacy skills may be best way to boost children's achievement" about an NIH funded study, "Family and Neighborhood Sources of Socioeconomic Inequality in Children’s Achievement" appearing in Demography by Narayan Sastry, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, and Anne R. Pebley, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles.
"The findings indicate that programs to improve maternal literacy skills may provide an effective means to overcome the disparity in academic achievement between children in poor and affluent neighborhoods," said Rebecca Clark, Ph.D., chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Ungated copy of the research paper is available here and here.

The full abstract of the paper states:
We examined family and neighborhood sources of socioeconomic inequality in children’s reading and mathematics achievement using data from the 2000–2001 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study. To describe inequality in achievement test scores, we used Gini coefficients and concentration indices and multilevel regression models. There was no inequality in children’s achievement by family income once other variables in the model were held constant. Mothers’ reading scores and average neighborhood levels of income accounted for the largest proportion of inequality in children’s achievement. Neighborhood economic status appears to be strongly associated with children’s skills acquisition.

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