I was surprised that Sue Palmer (TES, September 6) believes that children from "poor" (read "working-class") homes have especially poor listening and language skills due to "...limited experience of anything beyond four walls and the constant babble of television". This myth was debunked as long ago as 1984 by researchers Tizard and Hughes in Young children learning: talking and thinking at home and at school.
A more likely reason for the decline in language skills is that children spend too much time with child-minders or at day nurseries, which offer a far inferior linguistic environment to any home, whether middle or working class. Government policy bizarrely aims to get mothers of pre-schoolers to work, leaving infants in these inferior settings.
3 Chester CloseExeter, Devon