Cognitive home environments have critical effects on child development from infancy to adolescence, including early development, emergent literacy, school readiness, grade retention, and high school graduation rates. Green and colleagues studied low-income mothers of 6-month-old infants to determine the degree to which maternal literacy accounts for associations between education and the cognitive home environment in low-income households. Maternal literacy, and not education alone, was associated with a wide range of parenting behaviors important for child development, including provision of toys and learning materials, shared reading activities, teaching activities, and verbal responsiveness in the home. These findings suggest that literacy may account for the well-established impact of education on parenting and has important implications for both research and clinical practice. Pediatricians should consider developing strategies to identify mothers with low literacy to support their childrens' cognitive home environments. An ethics curriculum that addresses these issues would help meet the professionalism goals, better serve trainees' current educational needs, and likely better prepare trainees, especially those entering primary care, for their future roles as pediatricians.