Subject: Studies in the News 04-23 (April 6, 2004)

First 5 California Children and Families Commission
and the California State Library
Studies in the News
Children and Family Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   Early education and school system cost-savings
   Effects of kindergarten on early academic performance
   Educating homeless children
   Growing a reader from birth
   Addressing the needs of Latino children
   Evaluation of New Jersey preschools
   Preschool's influence on kindergartners
   Prereading skills for children
   Value of preschool
   Structure of childhood in elementary school
   Insecticides and size of babies
   Reporting health information to farmworker families
   Television's effect on young children
   Language, health care and disabled children
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News (SITN) is a current compilation of policy-related items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau and State Information & Reference Center to supplement the public policy debate in California's Capitol. To help share the latest information with state employees and other interested individuals, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library's website.

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Early Childhood Education: How Important are the Cost-Savings to the School System? By Clive R. Belfield, Columbia University. Prepared for Center for Early Care and Education. (Winning Beginning NY, Albany, New York) February 2004. 35 p.

Full Text at:

["The report describes the medium-term benefits or cost-savings from early childhood education in: reducing the incidence of special education; preventing grade repetition; improving educational productivity; and enhancing children's well-being. It also estimates the medium-term cost-savings to the state from investment in early childhood education programs."]

[Request #S1679]

Return to the Table of Contents

The Effect of Kindergarten Program Types and Class Size on Early Academic Performance. By Wenfan Yan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Qiuyun Lin, Mount Aloysius College. Education Policy Analysis Archives. Vol. 12, No. 7. (Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona) February 24, 2004. 20 p.

Full Text at:

["Research has consistently shown that the quality of early childhood care and learning experiences can have a significant effect on the academic and social learning of young children. This brief looks at relationships between the programmatic kindergarten structures of class size and length of day and student academic achievement." The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ASCD SmartBrief (March 30, 2004).]

[Request #S1680]

Return to the Table of Contents

"The Dynamics of Families Who Are Homeless: Implications For Early Childhood Educators." By Kevin J. Swick, University of South Carolina. IN: Childhood Education: Infancy Through Early Adolescence, vol. 80, no. 3. (Spring 2004) pp. 116-120.

["Family homelessness has emerged as a serious global problem, with some scholars suggesting that families may constitute 40 to 50 percent of the homeless. This article articulates the various dynamics of families who are homeless, what this means for early childhood education professionals, and what strategies can be employed to effectively support the children."]

[Request #S1682]

Return to the Table of Contents

Growing a Reader From Birth: Your Child's Path From Language to Literacy. By Diane McGuinness. (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York) 2004. 271 p.

["This book reviews the latest research revealing just how much infants, toddlers, and preschoolers know and can express from the early months on. It charts how a child initially makes sense of the world of sounds and symbols and then progresses from recognizing and decoding words to developing a vocabulary and using it to become a good listener, an expert reader, and an eloquent speaker. The author also underscores the important role of a child's parents in healthy language development, giving tips and pointers on how parents can best facilitate a child's learning." NOTE: Growing a Reader ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S1685]

Return to the Table of Contents


Addressing the Needs of Latino Children: A National Survey of State Administrators of Early Childhood Programs. Executive Summary. By Virginia Buysse, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and others. (Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) 2004. 12 p.

Full Text at:

["The study from the FPG Child Development Institute examined the linguistically and culturally relevant practices that state administrators reported were recommended or being used by early education and intervention programs that enrolled Latino children and families." Council of Chief School Officers, ECFE Electronic Message (April 5, 2004).]

[Request #S1683]

Return to the Table of Contents


Inch By Inch, Row By Row, Gonna Make This Garden Grow: Classroom Quality and Language Skills in the Abbott Preschool Program: Year One Report, 2002-2003, Early Learning Improvement Consortium. By Cynthia Esposito Lamy, Rutgers University, and others. (New Jersey Department of Education, Trenton, New Jersey) March 25, 2004. 53 p.

Full Text at:

["Almost six years since the state Supreme Court ordered universal preschool in New Jersey's poorest cities, the children in these districts have shown modest gains as they enter kindergarten but still suffer from substandard programs in many communities, according to this state report. This report found a mixed picture overall for the more than 500 individual programs across 30 districts, some of them located in the public schools, most in private child care centers that contract through the districts." The Star Ledger (March 26, 2004).]

[Request #S1681]

Return to the Table of Contents

Opening the Kindergarten Door: The Preschool Difference. Executive Summary. By Kristine L. Mika, Mika Research & Training. Prepared for the Connecticut Commission on Children. (The Commission, Hartford, Connecticut) March 2004. 11 p.

Full Text at:

["This study found that children who attend preschool for two years are twice as likely as children with no preschool experience to have the language, literacy and math skills needed to be ready for kindergarten." Newsday (March 28,2004).]

[Request #S1684]

Return to the Table of Contents

Fee, Fie, Phonemic Awareness: 130 Prereading Activities for Preschoolers. By Mary Hohmann. (High/Scope Press, Ypsilanti, Michigan) 2002 69 p.

["Phonemic awareness--the ability to recognize the smallest sound units that make up words--has been identified by reading experts as an essential skill that prepares children for reading. This book provides 130 phonemic awareness activities suitable for small-group learning in preschools, prekindergarten programs, Head Start programs, child care centers, and home-based on the latest scientific evidence about what children need to become confident and successful readers and writers. They also reflect the research-based, classroom-tested, and internationally recognized teaching strategies of the High/Scope early childhood approach." NOTE: Fee, Fie, Phonemic Awareness ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S1689]

Return to the Table of Contents

Preschool Matters [Entire Issue] online. By the National Institute for Early Education Research. Vol. 1, No. 3. (NIEER, New Brunswick, New Jersey) December 2003. 12 p.

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Federal Reserve Economist Urges Much Wider Public Investment in Preschool;" "Preschool Can Reduce Anti-Social Behavior;" "Trade in Senior Year of High School for Preschool Programs?: Colorado Looks Into New Proposal;" "The Oklahoma Project: State's Public Pre-K Helps Kids Get Ready For School;" "Rob Reiner: Scientific Evidence is Key to Making Case For Public Prekindergarten;" and others.]

[Request #S1690]

Return to the Table of Contents


Children, Power and Schooling; How Childhood is Structured in the Primary School. By Dympna Devine (Trentham Books Limited, Sterling, Virginia) 2003. 166 p.

["This is an exploration of childhood and schooling from the perspective of the children. The author has allowed the children to speak for themselves and reports their words and ideas. What the children say shows that it is the adults in the school who control their experience. These adults control not only their learning but also the values they should imbibe, their experience of schools as well as their experience and perception of themselves." NOTE: Children, Power and Schooling ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S1691]

Return to the Table of Contents



"Prenatal Insecticide Exposures, Birth Weight and Length Among an Urban Minority Cohort." By R. M. Whyatt, Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives (March 22, 2004) online.

Full Text at:

["Pregnant women in upper Manhattan who were heavily exposed to two common insecticides had smaller babies than their neighbors, but recent restrictions on the two substances quickly lowered exposure and increased babies' size. Based on the amounts of the pesticides chlorpyrifos and diazinon found in the mothers' blood and umbilical-cord blood." New York Times (March 22, 2004) A24.]

[Request #S1686]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Reporting Pesticide Assessment Results to Farmworker Families: Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Risk Communication." By Sara A. Quandt, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 112, no. 5. (April 2004) pp. 636-642.

Full Text at:

["The collection of environmental samples presents a responsibility to return information to the affected participants. Explaining complex and often ambiguous scientific information to a lay audience is a challenge. As shown by environmental justice research, this audience frequently has limited formal education, increasing the challenge for researchers to explain the data collected, the risk indicated by the findings, and action the affected community should take. This study describes the development and implementation of a risk communication strategy for environmental pesticide samples collected in the homes of Latino/a migrant and seasonal farmworkers in a community-based participatory research project. The communication strategy was developed with community input and was based on face-to-face meetings with members of participating households. Using visual displays of data effectively conveyed information about individual household contamination and placed it in the context of community findings. The lack of national reference data and definitive standards for action necessitated a simplified risk message. The authors review the strengths and weaknesses of such an approach and suggest areas for future research in risk communication to communities affected by environmental health risks."]

[Request #S1692]

Return to the Table of Contents

[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]


"Early Television Exposure and Subsequent Attentional Problems in Children." By Dimitri A. Christakis and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 113, no. 4. (April 2004) pp. 708-713.

["Very young children who watch television face an increased risk of attention-deficit problems by school age, this study has found, suggesting that TV might overstimulate and permanently 'rewire' the developing brain. For every hour of television watched daily, two groups of children -- aged 1 and 3 -- faced a 10% increased risk of having attention problems at age 7. The findings bolster previous research showing that television can shorten attention spans and support American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that youngsters under age 2 not watch television." Education Commission of the States, ECS E-Clips (April 4, 2004).]

[Request #S1687]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Parent's Language of Interview and Access to Care for Children With Special Health Care Needs." By Stella M. Yu and others. IN: Ambulatory Pediatrics, vol. 4, no. 2. (March/April 2004) pp. 181-187.

["The study findings illustrate the substantial effect that language can have on families of children whose needs for health care are greatest. The article describes a study designed to (1) assess the prevalence of selected health care access characteristics by the language of interview, (2) isolate the effect of language on access, and (3) demonstrate the effect of language on access among Hispanic children with special health care needs (CSHCN)." Maternal and Child Health Alert (March 26, 2004).]

[Request #S1688]

Return to the Table of Contents



"The Child Care Arrangements of Preschool-Age Children in Immigrant Families in the United States." By Peter D. Brandon, University of Massachusetts–Amherst. IN: International Migration, vol. 42, no. 1. (2004) pp. 65-87.

["This study examined the child care arrangements of children in immigrant families. Children in immigrant families, especially those in low-income immigrant families, were found less likely to use centre-based child care. Mexican, Asian, and other Hispanic children are also less likely to use centre-based child care. Because quality centre-based child care has been shown to benefit preschool-age children and help prepare them for school, both scholastically and psychologically, less use of centre-based child care among children in immigrant families compared to children in non-immigrant families is a potentially troubling finding. Public policies promoting greater access to and more use of centre-based child care, especially for low-income immigrant families and two-parent immigrant families, may make a significant difference to their children's long-term adaptation, and their children's school readiness and achievement."]

[Request #S1693]

Return to the Table of Contents