In the report "Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook" 50 states and the District of Columbia were ranked based on the the percentage of children who were read to daily. California ranks 42nd out of the participating states. The national average is 47.8% of the children between birth and five years of age are read to daily, however in California only 44.6% of these children have this opportunity. This just reinforces the need for ELF services throughout the state and the importance of the work you are doing. Check the UCLA Newsroom for the more details on the findings of this report at
Does Readiness Matter? How Kindergarten Readiness Translates into Academic Success is a longitudinal study involving children from Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties that reflect four readiness profiles. The research findings conclude that blocks of readiness skills and certain individual skills significantly contribute to academic success through middle grades. The paper explores readiness dimensions and their impact on school performance, identifies the priority skills and explores the gaps that exist among various profiles of readiness. The full report is available at http://www.appliedsurveyresearch.org/www/products/DoesReadinessMatter_ALongitudinalAnalysisFINAL3.pdf
The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture is a twelve-page report recently published by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. In the report, they identify factors that shape the brain during the early years including genetics, environment and experiences; address misconceptions about development such as the "Mozart Effect;" and explain where gaps exist between science and policy. You can obtain the report firsthand at www.developingchild.net/pubs/wp/Timing_Quality_Early_Experiences.pdf
A recent report was published by the California Budget Project detailing what it costs to support a family in California. It's not surprising that families are struggling and need more resources to support basic necessities. For example, a single-parent family with two children needs an average annual income of $59,732 to live modestly, which is much higher than salaries paid by minimum wage through median wage work. This report presents different family configurations and required budgets for ten regions in the state. Findings have strong implications for public policy. Access the report Making Ends Meet: How Much Does It Cost to Raise a A Family in California? at the California Budget Project website http://www.cbp.org/ .
A key focus of our mission is to support pre-literacy development through ELF. We continue to emphasize the importance of reading aloud with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, however now we also need to model and encourage what might be a more powerful message to parents...talk to your children. Laura Pappano reports in the Harvard Education Letter that research is mounting that links language-rich home environments with reading success and school achievement. In fact, exploratory investigative discussions between parents and children are central to higher-level lieracy, while the social-emotional bond parents have with children can amplify learning. Parents remain uniquely able to tailor explanations that click with their child and provide more extensive opportunities for rich discussion. Read more at http://www.edletter.org/insights/familyconversation.shtml
Listen to this informative 8 minute broadcast from NPR's Morning Edition that features interviews with researchers who have been studying play and it role in developing cognitive abilities, emotional regulation, the ability to pay attention, self control and discipline. Each of these contributes to success in school and life, however Elena Bodrova a researcher at the National Institute for Early Education Research found in a 2001 replication of a 1940's study, that today's children demonstrate lower levels of these abilities. 5 year olds exhibit self-regulation at the level of 3 year olds and 7 year olds are barely approaching the level of 5 year olds. It's through make believe and self-directed and imaginary play that many of these these skills are developed. In addition to the broadcast and a transcript, there are suggestions for children's play activities provided. www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514&sc=nl&cc=es-20080224&sc=emaf&sc=emaf
ETS has recently completed research on student achievement with a focus on the impact of family and home. Needless to say, early experiences, influences of the family, and the home environment are critical to enabling achievement and learning. The report, The Family: America's Smallest School , explores the current status of children in America with emphasis on changes in family configuration, finances, literacy development, child care disparities, educational resources in the home and parent - school relationship. The report and report highlights can be downloaded from the research section of ETS at: