Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy

Words: 776
Pages: 2
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Over the last fifty years, the gap in reading-related test scores between the bottom 10% (10th percentile) and the top 10% (90th percentile) has grown by roughly 30 to 40 percent (Reardon, 1). Over that amount of time, the income inequality between the top 10% and bottom 10% has also significantly widened. The difference in scores between the poorest and wealthiest families in the 1970s was less than the difference in scores between today’s poorest and wealthiest families. Although there are several risk factors that play a role in literacy, one of the most overlooked and understated is that of a person’s socioeconomic status. The evidence that suggests socioeconomic status has a high correlation with literacy development later in life is overwhelming (Reardon, 2). The reasons for this can be explained by three advantages those with a higher socioeconomic status can enjoy. Students with a high socioeconomic status tend to enjoy a better home environment than their less well-off peers. Their parents can afford to spend more money on not just the child’s home life, but on their academic one as well, allowing them to send their kids to more expensive, but better-performing schools. In addition to better schools, they can also afford private tutoring to pick up where the school may be lacking.

The place a child calls home is where they learn the foundations of literacy. Being exposed to a variety of texts while outside of a school environment is important to a child’s early literacy development, but providing a child with day-to-day necessities is usually higher on a low socioeconomic family’s list of priorities (Teale, 179). The contents of the house itself aren’t the only way poorer families living situations are worse off, they also have to deal with the location of the house itself. Families with low socioeconomic status children may also live in housing further away from the city center, meaning less access to book stores, libraries, etc.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Being in an area surrounded by other disenfranchised households means that the surrounding public schools available may not be up to par. A family with a higher socioeconomic status can afford to send their child to a local private school or in some cases even one out of the district. In a study, looking at the test scores of fourth-graders and eighth-graders, the private schools scored noticeably better than their public school peers. In reading, private schools were shown to score 15 points higher than public schools in fourth-grade, and 18 points in eighth-grade (Comparing Private, 5). Unlike public schools, private schools can screen who they allow in the school, leading to more positive school environments where high socioeconomic status kids are surrounded by other kids with a similar socioeconomic status. Class sizes are also smaller, with the average public school size being 25 kids per class and the average private school class at 19 kids per class (Comparing Private 35). Since class sizes are smaller, it follows that the student-to-faculty ratio would be too, with public schools at a ratio of 16.1, and private schools – 12.2 (Comparing Private 37). This means that individual students get more direct help from their teachers.

Of course, teachers are only capable of helping so much, and can’t help students with fix every one of their weak areas, this is where hiring an outside tutor comes in. One-on-one tutoring allows individual students to understand where their weaknesses are, isolate them, and eliminate them. This causes students who receive tutoring to be more well-rounded when it comes to reading and of course score higher. With high-quality tutors sometimes costing upwards of $60 an hour, they provide a service not available to the people on the bottom of the socioeconomic totem pole. In addition to tutoring, some tests have costly prep sessions that are proven to increase scores. These sessions, though, are more about gaming the tests used to measure literacy as opposed to helping improve literacy itself. This exclusive outside help being combined with an already better academic environment means high socioeconomic students score significantly higher than their peers.

It’s plain to see that people who come from a higher socioeconomic background have a clear advantage when it comes to literacy development in a variety of ways, whether it be in the home environment, school, or external help. Some people may question the fairness of a system where the rich are able to quite literally, although not directly, buy their children better reading scores, but it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. As long as wealthy families will be able to devote more of their time and resources to their children, inequality in literacy rates will continue to grow.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2023,
Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 Nov. 2023].
Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Literacy [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Sept 08 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.