Poor Children Get Biggest Literacy Boost From
THURSDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Poor children get the most
benefit from preschool, but such programs also help children who
aren't poor, particularly black youngsters, according to a new
"Universally available preschool programs are likely to narrow achievement gaps between children who are poor and those who are not poor, and also between racial groups," said study author Daphna Bassok, an assistant professor of education policy at the University of Virginia, in a news release.
Most state preschool programs have income-based eligibility
guidelines, but a number of states offer universal access and more
states are considering doing so, said Bassok. She set out to
examine how universal access to preschool programs had affected
efforts to narrow school achievement gaps between different groups
To do so, Bassok analyzed data from about 7,400 children who
were part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a nationally
representative data set that follows children from birth to
kindergarten. She examined the link between preschool programs --
including nursery schools, preschool centers and prekindergarten
programs -- and how children performed on a literacy test when they
Overall, all poor children seemed to benefit substantially from
being in a preschool program before they began kindergarten, she
found. Among white children, the literacy advantages gained in
preschool were largely limited to poor children. Considerable
literacy benefits were seen in both poor and non-poor black
The study appears in the November/December issue of the journal
The Nemours Foundation explains how parents can help their child
adjust to preschool.
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