Literacy is critical for numerous developmental outcomes and wellbeing among children. Low literacy skills in childhood can also negatively affect individuals in adulthood. Using data from nearly 300,000 kindergarten students in Virginia (2014-2017), this study finds that children in households that participate in more than one social assistance program (such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Free or Reduced-Price Lunch) have lower literacy skills when they enter kindergarten than children whose households participate in fewer or no social programs.
Child Health, Literacy, Food Insecurity, Social Welfare Policy
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service
cooperative agreement #58-4000-8-0036R
Policy Briefs Series
Financial support was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (cooperative agreement #58-4000-8-0036R). We acknowledge the services and support of the Virginia Department of Social Services and Department of Education. We also thank Zoé Tkaczyk, Alexandra Punch, Shannon Monnat, and Alyssa Kirk for editorial assistance on this brief.
Educational Sociology | Education Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social Welfare
Rothbart, M.W., Heflin, C., & Alphonso, G., (2023). Children in Economically Disadvantaged Households Have Lower Early Literacy Skills than their High-Income Peers. Syracuse University Center for Policy Research, Policy Brief Series. Brief #1.
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