Improving Mothers Literary Skills May Boost Achievement of Children

A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health reports that a mother’s reading skill is the greatest determinant of her children’s future academic success–even greater than neighborhood or family income. The authors, from the University of Michigan and UCLA, conclude that programs to boost academic achievement of children in low-income neighborhoods would be more successful if they also provide literary education to parents. Published in Demography, the study also shows that after mother’s reading level, the next determinant of a child’s academic achievement is the neighborhood income level.

“The findings indicate that programs to improve maternal literacy skills may provide an effective means to overcome the disparity in academic achievement between children in poor and affluent neighborhoods,” said Rebecca Clark, PhD, chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH institute that funded the study.

For more information:

  • Read the press release from the  NIH
  • Follow the NIH on Twitter @NIHforHealth (see the  NIH’s many Twitter accounts/feeds here)