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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET AMERICA DISCOVERS POVERTY But for one glaring exception, Head Start and to a lesser extent school system pre-K programs have done a very good job in remov- ing risk factors and providing environments to low-income chil- dren that foster healthy brain development. That glaring exception, unhappily, is the ability to provide rich or even adequate environ- ments that support language development. While there are many specific experiences that influence brain development, the starkest contrast between poor and more affluent children is experience in hearing and using language. Simply stated, compared to their more affluent counterparts, many low-income children from birth to five suffer language deprivation. For a variety of reasons, their families do not provide ut for one glaring exception, the same quantity of language as do more Head Start has done a very good affluent families, so that in terms of sheer job in removing risk factors. number of words, the middle-income child will have been exposed to over three times the language that the child in poverty will hear by the time she reaches school age (Hart and Risley 1995), at which time the window of opportunity for language development that is open wide during the child’s early years begins to close. B Can You Say, ‘Am-phib-i-an’? Instructional Mode vs. Communication Mode Consider the middle-income professional father who takes his four-year-old on a walk in the park. Unaware of the incredible capacity of his child’s developing brain to absorb information, Daddy provides his son with some linear, incremental instruc- tion. Operating in instructional mode, he points out a specimen of native wildlife to his son. 7 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL