Investing in our Future: Closing the Word Gap

Saturday, March 19, 2016

By Assemblymember Bill Dodd

This month marks the start of Spring, which embodies new growth and presents us with an excellent opportunity to reflect on our growth as a community. Over the last year, we’ve been able to make meaningful progress in California in a number of areas, including creating some of the toughest equal pay laws in the country and supporting education, but there is still much work to be done. As I look ahead, I see closing the word gap as one of our greatest challenges and greatest opportunities.

Studies have shown that when a child enters kindergarten knowing 20,000 words, their odds of academic success and high school graduation are significantly improved. Unfortunately, children coming from low-income households are likely to know only about 2,000 words and will have heard a staggering 30 million fewer words by the time they reach kindergarten. This disparity is what’s known as the word gap.

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