Reading, writing, math, science, and other skills learned in school are instrumental for a child to have in order to be successful both in higher education and in life. Many factors contribute to a student’s acquisition of these skills such as their learning environment, preschool education, mental and emotional development, parental involvement, and dedication to learning. The issue that many young children are facing, however, is that all of these factors can be greatly influenced by the Socioeconomic Status (SES) of their family. Unfortunately, up until recently it was virtually unknown how teachers could help these “at risk” children, which caused an increase in the likelihood of children dropping out of school or repeating a grade. However, it is now becoming clear that there are ways that educators can help ensure children have successful academic careers and lead better lives.
Support from parents has proven to be of extreme importance in the literacy success of a child. This often begins with the simple ritual of “bedtime stories” in the home. Studies show that children who are read to as infants perform better in literacy later in life. From a young age, children begin to understand the workings of the written word if they are exposed to it frequently. Babies who are nowhere near having the mental capacity to read and comprehend a book are still able to “follow along” when their parents or caregivers read to them. These children understand that each segment of writing represents a word and they are even able to recognize when a text is upside-down because they are accustomed to the appearance of writing. This puts the child significantly ahead when the time comes to learn to read.
Unfortunately for many children who come from families of low Socioeconomic Status, “story time” is not a regularly occurring activity. Parents with low SES tend not to read to their children as much as parents in wealthier families, however, this is not necessarily due to lack of interest. It is more likely that a parent with a low SES works more hours at jobs that can be more physically straining than a parent with a high SES. These increased hours (often from working more than one job) can cause parents to be too exhausted when they come home to read to their child. Another problem for parents who work so many hours is that they often are not home while the child is awake and ready to learn. Parents in families of low Socioeconomic Status are also more likely to have trouble reading, themselves, than parents in wealthier families, hence they are unable to read to their children in the first place. Then, as the child grows, the parent is also unable to help as he or she starts bringing homework back from school. It is quickly becoming apparent that there is a great need in our education system to help students who do not have all the advantages of other students, to ensure they do not fall behind.
The environment of a child from a low SES family also puts...