Back to School

Back to School

It’s a new school year – and if your child is starting preschool, this could be the most important year of their life! Preschool and the home environment have profound and lifelong effects on a child’s future.

This infographic explores some of the research on pre-k education – and helps us understand why the achievement gap is present before the start of kindergarten.

Dr. James Heckman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, has found that every $1 spent on early childhood education yields a $7 return to society.

  • 28% Higher tax revenues from higher earnings.
  • 28% Savings to criminal justice system from lower arrest rates.
  • 24% Savings in tangible costs to crime victims.
  • 18% School savings on remdial services.

Earlier is Better

Every $1 invested in preschool and prepping for kindergarten returns $7… but the return diminishes every year you wait.

And if you want an immediate return on your investment 66% of kindergarten teachers report that most of their students start out unprepared.

But kids who receive quality early childhood education start kindergarten with better:

  • Pre-reading skills
  • Math skills
  • Memory
  • Vocabulary

At the start of school.

On The Other Hand,

Kids who don’t receive high-quality early childhood education are:

  • 25% more likely to drop out of school
  • 40% more likely to become a teen parent
  • 50% more likely to be placed in special education
  • 60% less likely to attend college.
  • 70% more likely to be arrested.

There are many reasons for this, including the fact that:

85% of a child’s brain development happens before age 5.

But the learning really starts at home.

The number of words a child hears before age 3 dramatically effects their school readiness. It also has a permanent effect on their IQ, literacy and academic success…

But research shows that annual word count often depends on the parents’ jobs and schedules:

Words spoken by parents per year:

  • Professional Families 11 million
  • Working Class Families 6 million
  • Govt. Assitance Families 3 million

Case Study: Technology Makes A Difference
(Especially when it provides explicit instructions and parent involvement)

In the 1960s, researchers identified a big social problem. Kids from families that made less than $8,600 per year (or ~$60,000 by today’s standards) were starting school less prepared than kids from wealthier families.


Sesame Street was meant to help close the achievement gap by exposing disadantaged kids to basic reading and literacy skills before the start of kindergarten.


Although the targeted kids got boost, the other kids got an even bigger one.


Kids from low-income families watched alone. They were exposed to new materials, but received no:

  • Feedback
  • Explicit, direct instruction
  • Encouragement

Kids from high-income homes watched with parents, who:

  • Repeated lesson objectives
  • Asked follow-up questions
  • Monitored their child’s progress

But the good news is: With educational software like StudyDog, every child can get feedback, customized lessons and explicit instruction in the five critical areas of reading. This prepares them for kindergarten… and life!

Here are 5 more ways to help your child get the most out of early childhood learning:

  1. Talk all the time. Narrate what you’re doing, tell stories. Expose you child to words as early as possible.
  2. Stock up on books – even if your child can’t read them yet! Kids with more books at home are 19% more likely to finish college.
  3. Read to your child for at least 20 minutes per day. It’s never too early to start. Pick books with thick pages and textures so they can start holding – and even chewing on and bathing with — books on their own. (Believe it or not, this is a very important and underrated literacy skill.)
  4. Practice print awareness. Get books with cool fonts, font sizes and colors. Point to where the words are on the page, or ask your child to show you where to start reading. Comics and books with speech bubbles are also helpful.
  5. Engage with your child. Ask them to follow-up questions about their educational programs. Ask them what they learned in their reading game. Sing songs about letters, numbers and words. Practice rhyming. Tell stories together. Show your child that learning is important – and fun!

Back to School

Infographic by Study Dog.



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