-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Improving mothers'
literacy skills may boost the success of low-income children in
schools, says a new study.
U.S. researchers concluded that a mother's reading skill when
her children are young is the most critical factor influencing her
children's future academic success, even more important than other
factors such as family and neighborhood income.
For their study, the researchers examined data from 2,350
children, ages 3 to 17, and their families in 65 communities in Los
While a mother's literacy had the biggest impact on young
children's academic success, neighborhood income was the most
important factor for children ages 8 to 17. This fits with the idea
that influences outside the home become more important as children
grow older, said the researchers from the University of Michigan
and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was
recently published in the journal
"This analysis gives us a chance to isolate the different factors that affect children's achievement," study co-author Narayan Sastry, of the University of Michigan, said in an NIH news release. "Policy measures to encourage mixed-income neighborhoods, improve early childhood education, and build mothers' reading skills each could have positive effects on children's achievement scores."
NIH officials agreed that such measures could help overcome the
disparity in academic achievement between poor and upper-income
The Nemours Foundation outlines how
parents can help their children as they learn to
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