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Language and Poverty . English 271 Tanya Foulk & Shonda Ritterspach. Does Poverty effect Language and Literacy?. How Does One Learn Language?. Ironically, one learns language the same way that one learns how to read!. Through Exposure and Interaction. How does this work?.

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language and poverty

Language and Poverty

English 271

Tanya Foulk &

Shonda Ritterspach

how does one learn language
How Does One Learn Language?
  • Ironically, one learns language the same way that one learns how to read!


Exposure and Interaction

how does this work
How does this work?
  • Babies are born with 25% brain development
  • Caregivers cultivate the remaining 75% through...


what does interaction do
What does Interaction do?
  • Leads to a more rapid process of development
  • Promotes the ability to acquire language and reading skills
  • Gives the child the building blocks needed when entering kindergarten
children need
Children Need:
  • Regular Interactive Conversation
  • Reading
  • Singing
  • Adult guidance and playtime
  • The combination of these things will make the experience of reading, and also language acquisition …..


so what do books do
So what do books do?

Here’s the secret

Reading means socializing.

Socializing means meaningful conversation.

Meaningful conversation means children are


learning how to use language


they are also learning how to problem solve and express emotions!

did you know
Reading a child three books a day starting at birth, can dramatically improve their vocabulary, reading skills, and language skills before he or she even enters kindergarten?!Did you know?!
so how does poverty fit in
So, How does poverty fit in?

We are glad you asked!

families who deal with poverty
Families who deal with poverty
  • Often are single parent-homes
  • Often parents have multiple jobs
  • Often have multiple children involved
  • Often do not have time to sing and dance with the children
  • Often only communicate via commands where interaction is inappropriate
  • Often parents come from poor families as well
  • Often parents have limited literacy
poverty and children s language environment
Poverty and children’s language environment
  • A key study by Hart and Risely: Meaningful Differences (1995)
  • 42 children studied in their homes
    • Language of parent(s) to child sampled monthly between 1 and 3 yrs
    • Children from welfare families compared to those from upper class professional families, and working class families
could it get worse
Could it get worse?
  • Yes! Yes it could…and it does!
  • Immigrant parents often believe that communicating in the native tongue…

is a disservice!

so is it a disservice
So is it a disservice?
  • NO NO NO!
    • By speaking to a child in even a native tongue, you are teaching the child the fundamental rules of language…that just happen to help the child to learn….


how do we stop such myths
HOW do we stop such myths?!
  • Spread the word! Tell parents to read and interact!
  • Start a program like HABLA in California!

(Home-based Activities Building Language Acquisition!)

The proof is in the pudding!

Positive results have been achieved in low income homes in South Carolina!