Persistent concerns about income and social inequality have raised questions about how to address opportunity gaps in access to literacy learning for low-income young children. Recognizing the need to strengthen learning opportunities, this study examines how specially designed hybrid spaces within the ‘everyday’ place of a neighborhood laundromat might support children’s literacy development. Twenty laundromats in high-poverty neighborhoods from a large urban city participated in the research: 10 in which small spaces were reconfigured to create literacy-related play settings; 10, in which remained “business as usual” control sites. Conducted over two phases, the 7-month study examined changes in children’s literacy activities resulting from the physical design changes alone, and subsequent changes when combined with a trusted messenger, a public librarian, who assisted in their activities. Results indicated that these hybrid spaces dramatically increased children’s time on literacy-related activities, especially when given adult assistance, averaging 47-minutes per child of sustained activity. These results suggest that intentionally-designed everyday spaces may play an important role in increasing young children’s access to resources and opportunity to learn.
- oral language
- theoretical perspectices
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology