Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Improving mothers’ literacy skills may be best way to boost children’s achievement

From an October 26 US National Institutes of Health press release

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded that programs to boost the academic achievement of children from low income neighborhoods might be more successful if they also provided adult literacy education to parents.

The researchers based this conclusion on their finding that a mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success, outweighing other factors, such as neighborhood and family income.

The analysis, performed by Narayan Sastry, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, and Anne R. Pebley, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, examined data on more than 3,000 families.

The study, appearing in Demography, was supported by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

[Editor Flahiff’s note: This article is only available online through paid subscription. Check with a local medical, academic, or public library for availability. The library may charge a fee for access or for a copy. It would be wise to call ahead and ask a reference librarian for details]

“The findings indicate that programs to improve maternal literacy skills may provide an effective means to overcome the disparity in academic achievement between children in poor and affluent neighborhoods,” said Rebecca Clark, Ph.D., chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH institute that funded the study.

After mother’s reading level, neighborhood income level was the largest determinant of children’s academic achievement.

The researchers undertook the study to isolate factors contributing to the disparity in academic achievement that other studies have found between children in low income and affluent neighborhoods….

….The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site athttp://www.nichd.nih.gov/.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visitwww.nih.gov.

 

October 27, 2010 - Posted by | Health News Items | ,

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