Early Childhood

Early Years

June 21, 2000 2 min read

A Book Gap: Young children from poor families lack access to high-quality books, and early-childhood educators don’t have the resources they need to build a collection of good reading materials, according to a national study.

The study, “Access for All: Closing the Book Gap for Children in Early Childhood,” also found that funding for age-appropriate books is unpredictable and that child-care teachers rely too much on parents and community members to meet the need.

Instead of five books for every child, as is recommended by early-childhood-education experts, child-care centers surveyed had on average less than one book per child.

“Without significant public support for needed books and professional development for teachers, children from low-income families will continue to bear the brunt of this literacy gap that has powerful long-term negative consequences,” said Susan Neuman, a professor of education at Temple University in Philadelphia and the author of the study. This coming fall, she will become the director of the National Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement, based at the University of Michigan.

Ms. Neuman’s preliminary findings, which were released this month, also show that parents and teachers often don’t have enough knowledge to choose good books for young children.

As interest in school readiness grows, the consumer market for young children’s books is expanding and now accounts for 16 percent of book sales, the report notes.

It also cites a finding from the Washington-based Children’s Defense Fund that during the 1998-99 school year, states spent close to $1.7 billion on prekindergarten programs, but that few states made any recommendations about choosing books for young children.

The report recommends that states set guidelines for purchasing high-quality books and that publishers create products that are in line with developmentally appropriate practice.

Ms. Neuman is also working with national organizations, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, to write guidelines on how to select high-quality books for young children. When completed, the full report will include those guidelines.

The study is available on the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement’s World Wide Web site at www.ciera.org.

—Linda Jacobson ljacobs@epe.org

A version of this article appeared in the June 21, 2000 edition of Education Week

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood How Two Child-Care Centers Put Competition Aside and Created a Partnership During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, two early-childhood centers put their competition aside to work together to support families during the pandemic.
Charles Dinofrio
7 min read
Early Childhood New Players Fill Child-Care Gap as Schools Go Remote
As school districts move to remote instruction for the fall, day-care providers, dance studios, and after-school programs step in to fill school-day child-care gaps.
7 min read
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
Early Childhood Will Kindergartens Be Empty This Fall?
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, parents around the country are struggling with whether to send their child to kindergarten this fall. Some say they won't.
6 min read
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Courtesy of Satiria Clayton
Early Childhood Letter to the Editor A Eulogy for Ken Goodman
To the Editor:
Several weeks ago, I spoke with an Education Week reporter about Ken Goodman in anticipation of an obituary about Ken’s passing and legacy (“Kenneth S. Goodman, ‘Founding Father’ of Whole Language, Dead at 92,” May 21, 2020). Great conversation. I looked forward to the tribute. I knew it would be complicated and controversial; Ken was complicated and controversial. But I was sure the controversy would be treated as part of the tribute.
1 min read