Sunday, October 19, 2008

Creating a culture of vocabulary acquisition for children living in poverty

Journal of Children and Poverty: _
This paper presents a compelling case for early and sustained vocabulary development for children reared in poverty. Research findings indicate that vocabulary knowledge is a critical factor in literacy and academic success for low-income children from preschool to higher levels of schooling. Vocabulary proficiency is strongly related to language and reading understanding and to success in academic subjects, particularly when topics are presented with semantically laden words related to conceptual knowledge. Practitioners learn which words to emphasize in the continuum range of high frequency/high utility to rare words and why conversation, discussion, book readings, morpheme and root word play, and writing become so important in the learning of new words. Presented are four broad suggestions relating to (1) using enhanced talk in the classroom, (2) capitalizing on the rich vocabulary of children's book authors, (3) manipulating morphemes with word roots, and (4) developing the vocabulary of informational topics. Practitioners can readily implement these suggestions in their own classroom contexts, thereby creating positive climates of vocabulary acquisition for children with low and meager receptive and productive vocabularies.

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