The Importance Of Literacy In Language Development

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What if you were told that the disparities in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge between infants from rich and poor families were equivalent to a six-month gap by 2 years of age? In other words, would you believe somebody if they were to tell you that, starting at a very young age, children from families of high economic status have proven to be more intellectually advanced than children from lower-class families? Most people would not. While many argue that neither economic status nor social class has an effect on language development, scientific research has proven otherwise – these factors significantly influence the level of one’s vocabulary, language processing, literacy and attention span. In any instance, a person’s …show more content…
“Children who come from lower-class homes often use restricted code, which is a form of speech that is commonly used in informal situations. Middle- and upper-class children are more familiar with elaborated code; a form of language that is associated with formal situations”, says Elsworth. This elaborated code typically used by higher SES families uses a large vocabulary, standard syntax and a high percentage of complete sentences, while the restricted code commonly used by lower SES families uses fewer words, abbreviated sentences and limited vocabulary (Elsworth). Being raised within different households, with parents who talk distinctively in these codes, these two groups of children are being conditioned to think, talk, and eventually read at different levels. Wealthy children who are used to understanding a more sophisticated, “elaborated” code are more often than not going to be able to read more sophisticated books, resulting in higher literacy rates. This process applies to children from poor families as well, who will most likely read more “restricted” books and end up with lower literacy rates in result of being raised within a home who commonly uses a less sophisticated, restricted code. Another point to be made is the fact that U.S. children from families who primarily speak regional dialects like Appalachian, African-American, Southern, etc. are associated with low socioeconomic status because they are not fluent in standard English and are therefore at a “societal disadvantage”, in the words of Stephany Elsworth. Not only does their little knowledge of standard English decrease their educational and eventual job opportunities, it also results in their reading of very low level books and

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