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Narrow vocabulary ‘hits pupils’ grades’

BBC – Hannah Richardson

“Monosyllabic adolescents may be nothing new, but the latest research suggests a big chunk of them do not know enough words to do well at school. According to academics, four out of 10 pupils in their first year of secondary school have such a limited vocabulary that it is affecting their learning. Many teachers from the 800 secondaries involved in the Oxford University Press research say the problem is worsening. They blame the “word gap” on too little reading for pleasure.” (more)

Study reads between the lines in children’s vocabulary differences

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“The nation’s 31 million children growing up in homes with low socioeconomic status have, on average, significantly smaller vocabularies compared with their peers. A new study from the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at The University of Texas at Dallas found these differences in vocabulary growth among grade school children of different socioeconomic statuses are likely related to differences in the process of word learning.”(more)

A child’s spoken vocabulary helps them when it comes to reading new words for the first time

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Children find it easier to spell a word when they’ve already heard it spoken, a new study led by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University has found. The findings are the first to provide evidence about how oral vocabulary in children is linked to their ability to learn to read new words. “We found that when children have heard a new word spoken, and know how it is pronounced and what it means, they are then able to process this word with more speed when they have to read it for the first time,” explained Signy Wegener, lead researcher of the study.”(more)

Picture overload hinders children’s word learning from storybooks

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“While publishers look to produce ever more colourful and exciting texts to entice buyers, University of Sussex psychologists have shown that having more than one illustration per page results in poorer word learning among pre-schoolers. The findings, published in Infant and Child Development, present a simple solution to parents and nursery teachers for some of the challenges of pre-school education and could help in the development of learning materials for young children.”(more)

Spot the Dog stopping kids from spotting new words?

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Many parents think that giving their children interactive books with flaps, pop-ups and pull outs will help them learn to read, but research by Dr Jeanne Shinskey from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London has found this may actually stop toddlers from learning new words. Children seem to use these books more like toys, distracting them from learning new words and concepts. Dr Shinskey said: “Many educational picture books for toddlers often feature manipulatives like flaps or texture to encourage interaction, but do these actually help toddlers to learn new words? We wanted to test how a commercially-available book with or without flaps affected 2-year-olds’ learning of a new word for an unfamiliar object.” Two groups of toddlers looked through a book with a researcher that contained nine food illustrations. The two groups were shown the same book, but one had flaps for the children to lift and the other didn’t.”(more)

Asking Open-Ended Questions Could Help Early Learners Improve Vocabulary

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“It’s nearly universally understood at this point how important early learning is to a child’s future development. A new article from The Sun Sentinel claims that part of early learning should focus heavily on improving young children’s vocabulary skills- by frequently asking them open-ended questions. Veteran early education teacher Stephanie Collao told The Sun Sentinel “that one of the most important things parents can do to bridge any word gap is to engage their toddlers and preschoolers with open-ended questions and the conversations that follow.” According to Collao and many other early education pros, promoting these kinds of activities helps prepare kids for school and beyond- regardless of their families’ economic status.”(more)