web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Literacy Illuminated (Conclusion


Schonfeld-012712

In the previous two columns, we focused on phonics, sight-reading, comprehension and fluency. While phonics and sight-reading are different approaches to reading instruction, comprehension and fluency measure the level at which a student reads.  This column is focused on two of the building blocks of reading: vocabulary and spelling. Often, vocabulary and spelling are seen as divorced from successful reading, but in reality, they go hand in hand with proficient reading.

Consider for example, the difference between a fifth grader and an twelfth grader reading from the first few lines of the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

You can imagine that the fifth grader might only stumble over the pronunciation of two or three words, such as “impel” and “unalienable.” However, if you asked that fifth grader what the passage meant without giving any definitions, she would probably look at you with a blank stare, not having comprehended more than a few words. She might say something like, “Um, something about nature. And people all being equal.” In contrast, though the twelfth grader might not use words like “self-evident” or “dissolve” on a daily basis, she would almost certainly be able to give you a working definition of the passage. This difference illustrates the importance of reading. Yes, a child could learn to read without understanding any of the words she is reading, but then, she might as well be reading a foreign language. So, why is vocabulary so important?

 

Vocabulary Matters

Scholastic’s Reading Research Network explains the crucial importance of vocabulary:

As seen with the fifth grader and the twelfth grader, comprehension improves when you know what words mean (after all, knowing what things mean is the definition of comprehension). Since fluent comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, understanding what words mean cannot be emphasized enough.

Words are the currency of communication. The more words you know, the more you are able to communicate in all forms of interactions: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Parents often admonish their children, “Use your words. I can’t understand you if you don’t explain yourself to me.”  When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their social competence and confidence grows.

 

Improving Vocabulary

There are lots of different ways to improve vocabulary knowledge. The method that most indirectly, yet most efficiently improves vocabulary is reading. Read to your children from a young age, and once they are old enough encourage them to read on their own.  Try to be available to answer their questions while they are reading – and if you don’t know the word – pull out a dictionary and learn something new together!

Andrew Biemiller, the former director of the master’s program in child study and education at the University of Toronto, recently spoke at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education about the importance of teaching vocabulary in the classroom. His solution to solving what he believes to be a vocabulary gap: “by teaching vocabulary–10 and 12 word meanings a week in the primary grades—children will be able to identify more words and meanings as they get older.” His research indicates that with 30 minutes of instruction a day, a child can begin to fill the vocabulary gap that currently exists.

At home, children can play “matching” games with vocabulary. Older children can create their own versions of the game, using pairs of cards with words and their definitions. This way, they choose which words they want to learn and are interesting to them. Then, together with friends or siblings who are similar ages, they can turn learning vocabulary into a game. Younger children can do this with pictures and words, setting the stage for reading and vocabulary usage.

 

In the Era of Computers, Who Needs to Spell?

J. Richard Gentry, an expert on spelling education, explains why spelling is so important even in the age of computers and software that automatically checks our spelling. If you ask a reading specialist what children need in order to read successfully, his or her answer would be knowledge of the alphabet and phonemic awareness (the ability to identify that certain letters correspond to certain sounds). In other words, kindergarten and first grade spelling! Obviously, teaching spelling is only a small part of literacy instruction. However, in past years, spelling instruction has fallen out of favor.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Literacy Illuminated (Conclusion”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in NY late Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, ahead of Netanyahu's speech at UN General Assembly  set for the next day.
India May Change UN Vote; Bibi Says Israel to Protect Citizens
Latest Sections Stories
Games-121914

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

South-Florida-logo

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

South-Florida-logo

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Children develop at different rates – they say their first words, take their first steps, toilet train, read their first word, and lose their first tooth at different times.

Schonfeld-112814

Once you understand why you are lying, you might be better able to tell the truth.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Do you love your children? Of course, who doesn’t? Maybe I should rephrase the question: Do your children feel that you love them?

“Without a high school diploma, you couldn’t work as a garbage collector in New York City; you couldn’t join the Air Force. Yet a quarter of our kids still walked out of high school and never came back.”
– Amanda Ridley

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/literacy-illuminated-conclusion/2012/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: