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You Are Only As Big As Your Vocabulary

 

vo·cabu·lary (vō kabyə ler′ē)  Noun pl. Vocabularies -·lar′·ies

  1. a list of words and, often, phrases, abbreviations, inflectional forms, etc., usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined or otherwise identified, as in a dictionary or glossary
  2. all the words of a language
    1. all the words used by a particular person, socioeconomic group, profession, etc.

in full active vocabulary

  1. all the words recognized and understood, although not necessarily used, by a particular person

in full passive vocabulary

  1. an interrelated group of nonverbal symbols, signs, gestures, etc. used for communication or expression in a particular art, skill, etc.

My daughter was diagnosed with a speech delay when she was seven. Her speech delay had nothing to do with being able to talk; it had to do with understanding and communicating (receptive/expressive). There are two main forms of vocabulary, receptive and expressive (hearing and speaking). Words that are generally understood when heard or read or seen constitute a person’s receptive or passive vocabulary, also known as listening vocabulary. Expressive vocabulary is generally words whose meanings are understood well enough that a person feels comfortable using them in everyday situations. In most cases, a person’s receptive vocabulary is the larger of the two, which is exactly the case for my daughter. The types of vocabulary also include reading vocabulary, writing vocabulary, and focal vocabulary. My daughter’s weakness was in expressive language. She sometimes had problems retrieving the right words to express what she wanted or needed to say.

“Of the many compelling reasons for providing students with instruction to build vocabulary, none is more important than the contribution of vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension. Indeed, one of the most enduring findings in reading research is the extent to which students’ vocabulary knowledge relates to their reading comprehension (e.g., Anderson & Freebody, 1981; Baumann, Kame‘enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker, 1977; Davis, 1942; Whipple, 1925). Most recently, the National Reading Panel (2000) concluded that comprehension development cannot be understood without a critical examination of the role played by vocabulary knowledge. Given that students’ success in school and beyond depends in great measure upon their ability to read with comprehension, there is an urgency to providing instruction that equips students with the skills and strategies necessary for lifelong vocabulary development.” 2

Can we agree that having a solid vocabulary is paramount to reading success? What is gained from building a stronger vocabulary? For starters, an extensive vocabulary aids expression and communication. Vocabulary size is directly linked to reading comprehension, so if you want better reading comprehension, increase your vocabulary. Another benefit is that linguistic vocabulary is synonymous with thinking vocabulary. Be aware that others just might judge the student or adult learner based on his or her vocabulary. To prevent that, make sure precautions are in place to ensure a good working vocabulary.

What are a few good ways to encourage or motivate students to improve their vocabulary? Playing games is usually at the top of the list. These can be game board games the family plays together or online vocabulary games. Spelling, phonics, and vocabulary will all improve while having fun at the same time.

 

1 Webster’s New World College Dictionary Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland,Ohio.

2  Fran Lehr, M.A., Lehr & Associates, Champaign, Illinois; Jean Osborn, M.Ed., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Visiting Research Professor, University of California – Berkeley

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I See, I Hear, I Touch

Learning styles are simply various approaches or ways of learning. While some people are auditory and learn by hearing, others may learn more effectively by visualizing or seeing pictures in order to retain images. Still others learn by physically manipulating an object to fully understand them. Knowing your child’s learning style will help you select the best curriculum suited for your child and also help you develop coping strategies to compensate for their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths. There is no right or wrong learning style. Most children show a preference for one of the following basic learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic/ manipulative. It is not uncommon to show a combination of two learning styles; the primary and secondary learning style. Parents also show a preference for one of these learning styles. It is not unusual for parents to prefer a different style of learning than their child. In order to work effectively with your child it is important to understand your own learning style. Go here to take a free learning style quiz. Go here to see a chart identifying the different styles.

We all know that no two people learn the same way, so it will definitely benefit you and your child to identify his unique learning style and adapt your curriculum to fit his needs. Perhaps you have a visual/tactile child who enjoys playing online games. What if your child  enjoys reading, writing stories, solitary activities, or playing word games? Then consider learning activities and experiences that incorporate those types of learning skills. If your child can’t sit still for long and prefers socializing, playing group games, or being out-of-doors, take that into consideration when you select his curriculum. Depending upon your observations, your child may best learn from visual, auditory, or tactile experiences. He may best benefit from short, to-the-point lessons, or he may be more project-oriented. If you have a little artist in your midst, then he may need illustrations, diagrams, maps, or models incorporated into his curriculum. Take time to jot your observations down and adjust his curriculum to fit his learning needs.

 

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SAT, TAKS, ITBS, CSAP…

Test time is soon upon us all. Standardized testing is required for most kids in public, private, and homeschool situations. If you are not sure what your state requires, click here to find out. While glancing the page, you will also find helpful tips for you and your child.  If you have a child in high school, I am sure you have heard about the SAT. Some high school kids are getting ready now.  A fun way to prepare is by playing  online SAT practice games. Having fun while learning is a win-win situation, so go ahead and play games today!

 

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Internet Safety

One of the easiest ways to help kids learn or retain a skill is to have them play a game. It is easy to find lots of online learning games for kids. Just google the term and you will see tons of hits. The not-so-easy part of the equation is to make sure the sites you allow your child to visit are safe. Internet safety is a very real concern for today’s parents. Cyber bullying, chat rooms, pedophiles, companies tracking you as you hop from site to site…there are tons of reasons to monitor Internet usage by kids. It doesn’t matter if your child is young or a teen, Internet safety is of prime importance. If you don’t believe me, read the newspaper, watch television, or google Internet safety. I am sure you will change your mind and quickly!

If you are using the internet today be sure that you are doing everything possible to stop intrusions on your privacy and that you are squelching any Internet safety threats that might pop up. Verify that once a month that all the following are deleted:  cookies, history, temporary internet files, and passwords. Verify that your anti-virus and malware software are current and run a full system scan. If your child has a Facebook account, verify that nothing malicious is posted and no one is harassing them. A review of the pictures on their profile would be appropriate also.

 

Internet Safety Tips for Children

By Jerry Ropelato

Internet safety policies and guidelines can help make the Internet a safer experience for your family members.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Place your computer in an open room with the monitor facing out. This allows you to see and control what is occurring on the Internet.
  • Educate your children about the Internet, both the positives and the potential dangers.
  • Bookmark child-friendly web sites. This allows your children to easily get to safe sites that they have used before.
  • Teach your children that Internet safety means never giving out personal information over the Internet.
  • Share your Internet child safety experiences, both good and bad, with others.
  • Teach your children to refrain from chat rooms.
  • Don’t install Peer-to-peer applications. A high percentage of what occurs with children and peer-to-peer applications is related to either illegal or immoral activities.
  • Teach children to crash and tell. If they encounter a bad experience, they should feel comfortable in immediately turning off the computer and talking with a parent about the experience.
  • Never allow your children to meet with someone from an online session unless the parent approves.
  • Know the parents of your children’s friends.
  • Teach children to never open email from someone they don’t know.
  • Never respond to an unsubscribe on a pornographic email. If you or your child receives a message that is harassing, of a sexual nature, or threatening, forward a copy of the message to your ISP, and ask for assistance.
 
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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Helpful, Kids, Take Action

 

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