Something unusual and wonderful is happening with African-American babies.
Black toddlers who are good at telling stories are more likely to have strong reading skills in kindergarten, according to new research from the Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Surprisingly, the same link doesn’t exist when it comes to white, Latino, or Asian children.
“Oral storytelling has been an important part of the histories of many peoples, and an especially rich aspect of the black culture across the African diaspora,” Iheoma Iruka, director of research and evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and one of the researchers for the study, said in a statement.
African-American children are particularly adept at telling complex narratives of many types, added FPG researcher Nicole Gardner-Neblett, who led the study.
“Having a repertoire of different styles suggests that African-American children are flexible in their narratives, varying the narratives according to context,” she said. “This flexibility may benefit African-American children as they transition from using oral language to the decoding and comprehension of written text.”
Using a sample of more than 6,000 children nationwide, the researchers compared the oral storytelling skills of preschoolers to their emergent literacy a couple of years later in kindergarten.
While the link was obvious only for African-American children, the researchers suggest that the association may also exist for other children. It just might not be apparent until later when more development has occurred.
What does this mean, practically speaking?
It means that parents and caregivers should encourage children — especially black toddlers — to tell stories. The oral narrative skills they pick up in preschool seem to help them begin to read. The more complex stories they tell, the better they are at reading down the line.
“Building on children’s oral narrative skills is a strategy for schools looking to connect with children,” Iruka said in the statement. “Especially as schools support children of color who come from a culture that has cherished these skills.”
While the researchers acknowledge there are still questions about early literacy, the study’s initial findings may offer educators valuable clues about how they can support children, particularly African Americans, as they learn to read.
What We're Following See More »
The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.