Latino children, who generally enter kindergarten already six months behind their peers in school readiness, could advance academically faster if more were enrolled in programs like Head Start or Montessori, a new study argues.
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"The Role of Out-of School Factors in the Literacy Problem" maps the long-term implications of the increase in the number of Latino kids under 5 "“ now 25 percent of all U.S. children "“ on the country's K-12 system, colleges and universities, and the workforce.
Obstacles to helping such children at such a critical time of their lives often include parents' income, poverty, and in-home language issues, among other challenges to early learning.
The volume of Hispanic children heading into their school years and the impact of a slow start on a generation's educational and socioeconomic path are causes for concern.
In California and Texas, Latinos already account for more than 50 percent of all children of kindergarten age or younger. Nonwhites under the age of 1 account for more than half of all infants nationwide.
Reading skills beyond merely identifying words are essential to success in school and the workplace. "Low literacy levels among children from less-advantaged families dramatically reduce the potential for upward mobility," the study said.