Word Gap, What is it?

Welcome to the New Year, hope you all made plans to have a fantastic one!

A friend of mine sent me this article from npr.org on “Closing the ‘Word Gap’ between the rich and poor.

Based on a research done by a team in the 1990’s on 40 volunteer families from different economic backgrounds they found that the “number of words spoken in each household was quite different.”

The article stated that children in lower income families “heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers, which caused the lower income children to already be behind national literacy benchmark before they entered kindergarten”

Parents must communicate with their children to help decrease the word gap; they can do this by asking them open-ended questions, and listening attentively when they are asking questions.

You would be surprised with what a child knows when you really take time to listen. Looking up at the sky on a clear night and asking your child about the stars in the sky and the full and crescent moon is a wonderful opening to a very interesting conversation.

During a conference with one of my parents, I explain to them that students learn their colors before any other concepts, since they used at home more often.

 For example; they might tell their daughter to get the “black dress shoes,” or tell their son to wear the blue jacket instead of the black one since it is raining out.  Not realizing that they are teaching their son or daughter their basic colors through speech.

I also explained to the parents that other concepts can be added into the conversation as well, instead of asking the child to bring you a pencil, ask them instead to bring you the longer or shorter pencil.  Or the rectangle remote control.

Reading to your children is another way to increase their word usage, and by adding a discussion section at the end of story would enhance and introduce them to a whole new vocabulary of words.

Overall, if you provide a child with an enriched environment of words, knowledge and new concepts, what they don’t know they will begin to seek it out for themselves.

While they are young, they depend on you for the encouragement and importance of learning.

How do you introduce new words to your students/child?

Darla The Teacher

Leave a Reply