So often, I read (or hear, this is especially big on NPR) that research shows the number of books a kid gets read to them (or the number of words they hear, period) is predictive of their later academic performance.
But I am willing to admit right now that my kids haven’t really been raised with a ton of that, especially from me. And neither was I, from what I can tell: my parents were a busy assistant professor and Ph.D. candidate when I was little, and it seems they plopped me in front of the TV, where I taught myself to read with the help of Sesame Street when I was two.
My own kids did not learn to read so young, but ended up advancing quickly once they were in school. My 14 year old son was one of those (like a lot of people here, I imagine) they invite to take the ACT early, in 7th grade; and my 5th grade daughter has been listed on her STAR reading printout as reading at a “12.9” grade level equivalent since last year.
I think it’s just that unlike me, most people who are passing on the smart genes to their kids also happen to *like *to read to them. (I like to spend time with my kids, just to be clear; but we are more TV watchers in this golden age of TV.) I highly doubt a targeted intervention to have more words read or said to disadvantaged kids is actually going to bring the results they imagine it will.