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Literacy Acquisition in Peru, Asia, and the United States


An important question in the study of literacy is the degree to which environmental conditions influence children's ability to learn to read. A comparison was made of the reading ability of schooled and nonschooled children in three locations in Peru: the city, the highlands, and the rain forest. Increased attendance resulted in improved reading ability, but the degree of improvement varied according to the environments in which the children resided. When the children were followed up nine years after the original testing, they showed continued improvement in reading ability, especially in the environment where economic conditions had improved. A comparison of the Peruvian children with children in three industrialized societies, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, revealed little difference in the children's cognitive abilities but great differences in their reading ability. More stimulating environmental conditions and better schooling in the industrialized societies were presumably responsible for these differences. © 1992, SAGE PUBLICATIONS. All rights reserved.

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