[RFHF] In the News: More and new research on vocabulary

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Wed Feb 13 11:37:26 PST 2013

Hello! An early childhood education specialist from the Oregon Department of Education just shared a great article on new research around the importance of vocabulary development before children start school. This article is based a series of studies by the University of Michigan. I've copied and pasted a few key points from the article if you don't have time to read it in full.

Students Must Learn More Words, Say Studies<http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20vocabulary_ep.h32.html?tkn=TZMFgk7NAkmjOoC5gr4c2bOzxwjAgLv%2BoQnD&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1&print=1>
By Sarah D. Sparks

*         "Vocabulary is the tip of the iceberg: Words reflect concepts and content that students need to know," Ms. Neuman said. "This whole common core will fall on its face if kids are not getting the kind of instruction it will require."

*         students in poverty-the ones prior research shows enter school knowing 10,000 fewer words than their peers from higher-income families-were the least likely to get instruction [from teachers] in academically challenging words [in kindergarten].

*         expanding students' vocabulary is "the key to upward mobility,"

*         studies have shown that students learn words better when they are grouped with related words.

*         studies suggest a student needs to hear a new word 28 times on average to remember it. The more sophisticated the word, the more important it is for students to have opportunities to recall the word, use it, and understand how it relates to other, similar words,

*         research shows children learn the bulk of their vocabulary implicitly in context

How does this relate to your work with parents and their young children:

*         Continue to emphasize the importance of talking, singing, reading, and playing because they provide opportunities for children to hear, practices, and learn vocabulary in the context of their lives.

*         Remind families who struggle to reduce their media use to watch TV/movies with their children and talk with their children about what's happening, to play games on the iPhone, iPad, and other devises together and talk about what is happening with their child. Kids learn through social interaction and doing and talking, not just sitting and watching silently.

*         Think about how you provide context for the rare words in board books and picture books while reading with children.

*         Try not to dumb down your vocabulary when talking with children, add explanations of challenging words and real world context to develop meaning.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

PS: If the hyperlink to the article doesn't work, try copying and pasting this URL into your browser: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20vocabulary_ep.h32.html?tkn=TZMFgk7NAkmjOoC5gr4c2bOzxwjAgLv%2BoQnD&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1&print=1 or doing an online search using the title of the article and author's name.
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