High-quality early interventions are the smartest community investments.

May 19, 2015 / Data, National Data / 0 Comments /


High quality early interventions lower the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and show a return on investment of 6:1.

Key strategies include:

  • Parent education and coaching
  • Home visitation
  • Quality early childhood care and education
  • Pre-kindergarten

Total economic lifetime benefits include:

  • Increased lifetime net earnings
  • Increased tax revenue
  • Reduced health care and mortality costs
  • Public system savings

These are conservative estimates that primarily focus on the quantifiable ECONOMIC return on investment and don’t take into account the opportunity and psychological costs of remedial education, toxic stress, etc.

Source: Diaz, Jose Y. “Prospective Return on Investment of the Northside Achievement Zone.”Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (2015): 12-14. 15 Feb. 2015. Web.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives reduce teen pregnancy and teen parenthood.

March 16, 2015 / National Data / 0 Comments /

Books from Birth participation in Shelby County is linked to stronger reading performance in second grade.

May 23, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /
Prior findings: Kindergarten entry

Children who participated in the Books from Birth program prior to kindergarten entry had statistically higher kindergarten readiness scores in language and mathematics than children not enrolled in the program.

Follow-up: Second grade

Our analysis indicates that students who had participated in the Books from Birth program prior to kindergarten entry had higher scores in reading development in second grade, compared to students who had not participated.

BfB children are more likely to be in the strongest tier and least likely to be in the weakest tier of readers in 2nd grade.

Significant differences in vocabulary and reading comprehension

The two subtests most fundamentally linked to early reading experiences are the two that showed significant differences between BfB participants and non-participants, namely vocabulary and reading comprehension.

The BfB advantage remains after we control for other factors associated with reading development

These findings are not a result of group differences in socioeconomic status or gender.

Read more in our full brief.


Download Research Brief (PDF, 2014-01)

Contributing Authors: Marie Sell, Doug Imig, Shahin Samiei
A Partnership between The Urban Child Institute and Shelby County Schools

In 2013, two in three children in Shelby County entered kindergarten below age-appropriate levels of reading readiness.

January 27, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /

Source: 12. Sell, M. (2013). Research Brief: Kindergarten Readiness. Shelby County Schools Office of Planning and Accountability, Office of Research, Planning, and Improvement.

Children in poverty hear fewer words at home.

January 23, 2014 / National Data / 0 Comments /

Children in poverty hear fewer words at home.

A child of professional parents typically has heard 45 Million words by age four.
A child in an impoverished family typically has heard 12 Million words by age four.

Children in poverty hear less praise.

A child of professional parents hears on average 12 positive statements for two negative statements.
A child in an impoverished family hears on average 1 positive statement for two negative statements.

Graphic based on: Hart, B. and Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.
Baltimore MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Pre-K makes a difference

January 8, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /

All test scores improve after one year for Pre-K.
Children with multiple family risk factors show the greatest improvement in scores after one year of Pre-K.

Source: Shahin Samiei, M. Sell & D. Imig. 2012. “Analysis of Pre-Kindergarten PPV-T scores by Family Risk Factors.”

Factors impacting reading readiness

January 8, 2014 / Local Data / 0 Comments /

Early childhood differences influence reading readiness…
Memphis, TN, 2012

Source: Shahin Samiei, M. Sell, A. Bush & D. Imig. 2012. “Evaluating the relationship between the Imagination Library early childhood literacy program and kindergarten readiness.”

Pre-Kindergarten makes a world of difference.

July 17, 2013 / National Data / 0 Comments /

These research findings are based on state-funded pre-kindergarten programs and high quality early childhood programs such as High Scope Perry Preschool, Chicago Child-Parent, and Abecedarian Project.
Brief: The Benefits of Pre-K: What the Research Shows
Download full brief (PDF, 07/2014)