At age 7, Helen Keller, completely shut off from her world through the tyrant twins of deafness and blindness, recognized the word, “water” being finger-spelled in one hand while cool water flowed over the other hand. She made astounding progress, a mere 5 years later publishing her first magazine article and then in another 5 years, entering Radcliffe College. In her lifetime, she wrote 14 books and hundreds of magazine articles.
The children we teach in no way start out as sensory deprived as Helen Keller, but we do know that a child’s mind is only limited by the concepts he has names for.
Research has proven over and over again – vocabulary acquisition is one of the most important tools in expanding a child’s interaction with the world.
We know these things:
Vocabulary knowledge in kindergarten and first grade is a significant predictor of reading comprehension in middle and high school
Vocabulary strongly influences a teacher’s judgment of a student’s competency
Lack of sound vocabulary skills is a critical factor in school failure
It is estimated that a first grader needs to have 1,000 words in their reading vocabulary, which then soars to 10,000 for a third grader and 40,000 by the time a student is in twelfth grade. That is an increase of 3,000 words per grade. Studies show that disadvantaged children and poor readers acquire less than half of the vocabulary of their successful peers.
Have your child involved in learning programs that teach the sight words and the most frequently occurring words in print. The child should receive multiple exposures to the word by both seeing it and hearing it. Choose engaging reading games that not only build on sight word vocabulary but that also teach spelling, visual processing skills and other learning tools centered around good reading techniques.
U CAN CONNECT was designed with those ideas in mind. Each level has 3000 sight words and hundreds of the most-frequently used words in written text. Highly engaging, these online games are fun reading games that that were specially engineered so that parents do not have to monitor their child during play. The KidsSafe Seal says this is a website a parent can trust.
Check out www.ucanconnect.org.
For a list of the first 4000 words that a child needs to learn, visit www.thefirst4000words.com.
Your child has 40,000 words to learn – if Helen Keller can do it, so can your child! Just get going.
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