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Author: stevenjklein Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 13999  
Subject: Vocabulary Declines, With Unspeakable Results Date: 12/18/2012 11:36 AM
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I saw this in the Wall Street Journal, and decided to share the link here:

http://wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578010394278...

Vocabulary Declines, With Unspeakable Results
The first step to fight income inequality: Do a better job of teaching kids to read.


Excerpt:
[T]he middle class's economic woes followed a decline in 12th-grade verbal scores, which fell sharply between 1962 and 1980—and, as the latest news confirms, have remained flat ever since.

The federal government reported this month that students' vocabulary scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have seen no significant change since 2009. On average, students don't know the words they need to flourish as learners, earners or citizens. (emphasis mine)

Students don't learn new words by studying vocabulary lists. They do so by guessing new meanings within the overall gist of what they are hearing or reading. And understanding the gist requires background knowledge. If a child reads that "annual floods left the Nile delta rich and fertile for farming," he is less likely to intuit the meaning of the unfamiliar words "annual" and "fertile" if he is unfamiliar with Egypt, agriculture, river deltas and other such bits of background knowledge.

Worth reading the full article.
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