The literacy gap between Latino and white toddlers starts early, according to a study released Thursday by UC Berkeley, which revealed the following:
Latino toddlers whose language comprehension is roughly similar to white peers at 9 months old fall significantly behind by the time they are 2.
Four-fifths of Mexican American toddlers lagged three to five months behind whites in preliteracy skills, oral language and familiarity with print materials.
Mothers of toddlers who fell behind were more likely to be foreign-born, low-income and less educated.
Mothers of toddlers who fell behind were less likely to read to their children daily or give them as much praise and encouragement as those whose children kept pace with white peers.
Only 18 percent of Mexican American mothers who spoke Spanish at home read to their children daily, compared to 28 percent of Mexican American mothers who spoke English at home, and 59 percent of white mothers.