Language Acquisition Issues

I’m reading a book about Child Language Development and several questions are raised by it.

1) A post World War II study (late 1940′s) in the US showed that immigrant children seemed to show overall lower intelligence. Theories were expounded about why and all of the theories were debunked. Overall the book indicated that bilingual children are smarter. Why the discrepancy? While I agree with the notion that these immigrant children were not of lower IQ we may not have a valid reason why. My vote would be that IQ testing implies inherent cultural bias. The immigrant children did not have the appropriate cultural references to do well on the tests.

2) More than a few sources will show that the US has a 100% literacy rate. Other sources show that roughly 1/3 of children have reading deficiencies that last into adulthood. And lastly there is the statistic that 7-17% of all children are dyslexic. The 100% literacy rate has bothered me for some time. If true I (and others) should be able to argue that are schools are fine and no changes need to be made to our schools. I doubt many Americans would stand behind this 100% number, yet it exists. I suspect for political reasons we cannot state our literacy rate as less than 100% because that would be admitting we are not the #1 nation in the world. Fessing up to the fact the we have less than 100% literacy is a needed step toward fixing the problem. The real rate is probably in the 80-90% rate.

The number of dyslexic people is interesting because it has a correlation to literacy rates. In countries that use a script (as opposed to s symbol system like Chinese) I would expect similar rates of dyslexia and correspondingly a lower rate of literacy. Dyslexia is not an American problem, it is a general cognitive problem and should be fairly well distributed among humans.

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