This Field-Based Literacy Professional Investigation will examine how low socio-economic status (SES) influences students’ reading performance and how low SES students can succeed with the increased demands of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This topic chosen was influenced by an interview I conducted with a reading specialist. I met with a reading specialist at Armor Elementary School (Hamburg School District) to learn more about the current key issues in education. During the interview, she noted that students of low SES have typically always struggled with reading. This is a trend that she has consistently noticed throughout her career. Students of low SES are now not only challenged with reading, but with the increased demands of the CCSS. Therefore, this topic is very relevant to the curriculum changes transpiring in education. The reading specialist I interviewed, felt that struggling readers are now falling even further behind because of the increased rigor of the CCSS.
This topic is not only relevant to the current changes in education, but to my future teaching as well. Despite the area I teach in, I am mindful of the fact that low socioeconomic status is likely going to impact some of my future students. This investigation studies why low SES has such a significant influence on students’ academic performance and what teachers can do to help these students.
This review will address how low SES influences students’ reading performance and how low SES students can succeed with the increased demands of the CCSS. The American Psychological Association defines Socioeconomic Status or SES as “a combination of education, income, and occupation” (Education).
According to Fass and Cauthen (2007), there are 13 million impoverished children in the United States (as cited in Walker-Dalhouse & Risko, 2008). Jensen (2009) extensively examined the various effects that low SES has on students’ academic performance. This review specifically details how low SES influences reading and academic performance, however, Jensen (2009) describes several behavioral and emotional aspects of low SES students that may trickle into their academic performance as well. Jensen’s (2009) research on the cognitive development of low SES students versus higher SES students revealed a gap in achievement. Noble, Norman, and Farah’s (2005) research on the brain showed that there are actual differences in the brains of low SES children and higher SES children (as cited in Jensen, 2009). Low SES children are at a disadvantage before they even begin school; low SES children receive considerably less “cognitive stimulation” at home than their higher SES classmates (Jensen, 2009, n.p.). Through the use of standardized measures, Jensen (2009) discovered that low SES children perform subpar on reading assessments. Jensen (2009) also reported that low SES children typically lack effective...