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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET CHAPTER ONE That said, the correlation between rich discourse and school success is real, and if words spoken are so important, why then do parents struggling in poverty not provide them at the same rate as more affluent families? One obvious reason is the parents’ own education. These are parents who collectively are more than five times as likely to have dropped out of high school than their affluent competitors (Rumberger 2013) and have scores on stan- dardized tests significantly below those of their more affluent competition (National Center for Education Statistics 2013). For these reasons, the kind of vocabulary used by Mom in her mall story simply is not available to many parents in poverty. One could also argue that parents in poverty are less able to provide the same breadth of experience—museums, the theater, or even the beach— that is taken for granted by higher income families. But exposure to language can be provided through quite ordi- nary experiences as well. One need look no further than the language-rich discussions described earlier about exchanging merchandise and watching television to see how that is possible. Children do not have to go to the Smithsonian to be exposed to rich discourse; the grocery store will do just fine. But even the family trip to the grocery store can take on a very different quality for people living in poverty. Some families strap their one-year-old and three-year-old into the built-in child safety seats of the family SUV and head off for the store. During the trip, except for the occasional admonition to “quit teasing your sister,” they may ignore their children during the entire journey. They do converse with each other, however, and the three-year- old immersed in his video as well as the one-year-old facing the rear, sucking on her pacifier, take it all in while not appearing to pay the slightest attention. 12 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL