Study: Children as young as 3 attempt to discern rules of reading, writing

When I first began covering education, there was an assumption schools were on a solo mission to educate the youth of America; parents dropped off their kids and teachers did the rest.

It didn’t matter whether the child was raised in a home with hundreds of books or just the telephone book: schools were supposed to be the great equalizer. We thought getting children at age 6 or 7 in a classroom was sufficient to remedy any early learning deficiencies and that they could catch up with more school-ready peers through routine classroom instruction.

Thirty-some years later, science has now shown us schools play a smaller role in academic outcomes than we thought and parents and homes play a larger role. In the last decade, research has revealed how what happens -- or doesn't happen -- from birth to age 5 influences a child's language skills and overall readiness to learn. What the child has seen and heard before that first day of school are major contributors to academic success.

Here is a release on a new study that will interest pre-k and early education teachers. I found it fascinating. It deals with the early efforts of children to spell. It is from Washington University in St. Louis.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.