The Problem

The team will be tackling a very specific issue:

  • The early literacy gap between kids from upper/middle-class families and those of impoverished families.

Our client, Susan Neuman, has conducted research that demonstrates the existence of a knowledge gap between to those of affluence and poverty.  In particular, this gap often begins from a young age.

From preschool to kindergarten, children of families in poverty often do not possess the same verbal and conceptual foundations that children from middle and upper-income families have – concepts such as categorization and generalization (e.g. “An apple is a fruit.”, “An insect has six legs; an ant is an insect”).  These kids tend to have more unsupervised time and are exposed less often to such words and ideas in their daily lives.

The vocabulary and knowledge to discuss abstract ideas is fundamentally important:  Having the words with which to talk about new ideas as well as the familiarity with how to relate those ideas together is what allows kids to successfully learn in school.  Without this foundation then, disadvantaged very often fall behind in their education and this problem only exacerbates itself as they get older.

It seems that if this gap could be bridged at a young age, all children would have a better chance to succeed in their education.