Readiness Gap

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Our words count. In more ways than many of us ever realized. It's been 18 years since Betty Hart and Todd Risley published their landmark study on the giant gap - 30 million - in words heard by young children depending on their socio-economic status. Hart and Risley's three key findings were:

  1. The variation in children's IQs and language abilities is relative to the amount parents speak to their children.
  2. Children's academic successes at ages 9 and 10 are attributable to the amount of talk they hear from birth to age three.
  3. Parents of advanced children talk significantly more to their children than parents of children who are not as advanced.

In Edgefield County, First Steps is an important partner that addresses the needs of young children. Last year, Edgefield County First Steps gave out over 4,000 books to children, provided 35 hours of certified training to early childhood professionals (K-4 teachers and child care workers), improved parenting practices through 104 hours of parenting workshops, and served 67 children and their families in intensive quality early childhood programs (family literacy, nurse family partnership, child care scholarships, and countdown to kindergarten). First Steps' initiatives play a vital role in addressing the 30,000,000 word gap though the services they provide in our county.

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