Who is at Risk?

Children in some populations are considered more at risk for experiencing difficulty in emergent literacy, including:

  • Form the largest group of children demonstrating delayed literacy development (Tichnor-Wagner, et. al., 2015).
  • Are also more likely to encounter community-level disparities (e.g., quality/size of local libraries, etc.) that obstruct their access to additional literary experiences (Cunningham et. al., 2009)
  • Are, on average, 16 months behind their peers from high-income households in terms of vocabulary size at school entry (Waldfogel & Washbrook, 2010) 
  • Their opportunities to see language/literature might be limited to functional uses only (paying bills, checking emails, etc.) with little enrichment through books or other written language. 

Important Note: everyone speaks with an accent or dialect, and no one type is better– or more correct –than another. They are a natural part of language and should NOT be treated as a speech or language problem.

As educators, it is likely you will work with many children who fall within the above criteria. However, all children, not just those at-risk, can greatly benefit from focused instruction in emergent literacy.

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