Education has been identified as a social determinant of health. Disparities begin early in life, as children in households with lower incomes or lower educational attainment often experience a “word gap” in the number and variety of words they hear, and may have limited access to books. This matters because reading proficiency is a foundation of educational success. Two Healthy People 2020 objectives are increasing the proportion of parents who read to their young children and the proportion of 3rd/4th grade students who are proficient readers. These measures illustrate that education takes place in early childhood, as well as after a child begins school. Many fine programs promote early literacy-building activities, increase access to books and offer reading instruction.
This research focused on legal and policy interventions to support literacy and reading proficiency. The law provides tools to improve health by addressing physical health, the built environment and social and economic factors that affect health outcomes at the population level.
Network attorneys are available to answer questions on this and other public health topics at no cost to you, and can assist you in using law to advance your public health initiatives. Contact a Network Attorney in your area for more information.