Thursday, July 14, 2016

Low-income nabes can be a book desert

There is much talk about low income neighborhoods being a food "desert"--with fresh fruit and veggies scarce or unvailable.

But a study led by NYU finds a startling scarcity of children's books in low-income areas of Detroit, Wash DC, and Los Angeles.

This is not to reinforce the president's recent statement that a young person can get a Glock easier than a book--that was rhetorical nonsense.

But children's books are hard to come by in some places.

Access to books, stories, and other tools have both immediate and long-term effects on kids' vocabularies, background knowledge, and comprehension skills.

Also--I would say--on instilling a lifelong curiosity.

The research teams analyzed 40% poverty and 18-40% poverty areas in the three cities.

They went street by street--cataloginv what books, magazines, and newspapers were available.

Dollar stores were the most common places to get children's books. In the poorer section of Washington DC, 830 kids would have to share an age-appropriate book. Nearer to Capitol Hill, that was two kids.

The research was done in summer--where learning opportunities are fewer anyway due to school vacation.

Reading skills accumulated through the year drop then anyway.

So what's to be done? Donate books to Goodwill? Donate to the library? Ideas?

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