Saturday, January 26, 2013

Vulcanizing a Voluminous Vocabulary

One of the CCSS shifts focuses on the direct correlation between vocabulary and comprehension.   We as educators are told to spotlight the value of vocabulary more than we ever have.   ELA teachers, librarians, linguists and wordsmiths alike have always valued "words" as they hold power: 
  • Power to capture an image
  • Power to express our thoughts correctly
  • Power to send a message
  • ...and now power to understand and comprehend...or receive a message.

If you examine the "spoken word" you will find that typically, it is void of: adjectives, prepositions, and correct grammar.  Then, we ask students to switch to writing and include:  correct grammar, punctuation, adjectives, compound sentences and lovely words...Herein lies the disconnect:
(This is based on the research of linguist Marilyn Jager Adams, Brown University -- a brilliant Phd.)   

Many educators forget that in addition to "using" the correct words to convey a message, is the ability to receive the material with a full understanding.   Research shows there is a direct correlation between reading, achievement, vocabulary and comprehension:  
  • The larger one's vocabulary, the more he will comprehend.
  • With greater comprehension, comes greater achievement.  
  • There is a direct correlation between educated parents and the vocabulary of children.  The higher the parents' education, the greater the student's vocabulary.
  • There is a direct correlation between poverty and lack of vocabulary.
So, that translates to "Every educator imperatively should understand the value of vocabulary as a direct correlation to achievement."   If you are a science teacher, you know that those "Tier 3" content-specific words are imperative to understand your subject matter.  Now we need to focus on all tiers!   

This means, all educators are in the vocab business:

    What else can you add to this list?  

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