‘Word Gap’ Targeted by California Literacy Efforts

Public partnership with the private nonprofit NapaLearns foundation is what led to district-wide distribution

Erin McIntyre, Education Dive
Published on February 23, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • The “30 million word gap” describes the disadvantages faced by impoverished children who grow up hearing 30 million fewer spoken words than their more affluent peers, and in communities like Napa County, CA, children of non-English speaking immigrants are often among those most affected.
  • To address the inequity, the Napa County Office of Education piloted a multilingual interactive digital platform called Footsteps2Brilliance with preschool students, seeing English language skills increase by 250%.
  • The platform works on various tech devices, including smartphones, and the district has since partnered with a nonprofit to fund distribution of the platform to all parents of pre-school age students.
Napa County Superintendent of Schools Barbara Nemko said that “almost every family” has a device, and that the district helps parents download the software and understand how to use it.

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