Project EASE
Early Access to Success in Education
A Parent-Child Program


 

1. Words, Words, Words: A Vocabulary Unit

 

Background Information for Parents

Words were the beginning of your ability to communicate with your child. Those first few words he or she spoke were no doubt etched in your heart and mind. Words are at the center of your child's journey towards literacy also.

In the classroom, our children will hear words spoken, see words written, and will write words they want to communicate with. Words will be at the heart of understanding.

What will be important? Good readers know many words. The typical first grader knows about 10,000 words. They went from 0 to 10,000 words in just six years. Where did they learn all those words? From listening and speaking to you and others. You might not even know that you were so important in shaping and extending your child's vocabulary.

What activities help the most? Two types of activities increase a child's vocabulary:

  • book reading

  • extended conversations, such as mealtime discussions, bedtime talks, and trips in the car

Why do some activities influence literacy more? There are some activities which aid general conversation, such as talking about the day's events, watching TV, and talking on the phone. These experiences help children become good social communicators. Face to face experiences build togetherness and allow for a great deal of supportive conversation.

The types of activities which support literacy are different from those casual conversations. These activities are a little more formal, more directed, and typically last longer than social conversations. These types of discussions center on a topic, explain things, and extend ideas. When children have an opportunity to engage in these kinds of activities they learn more words, they follow a train of thought, and they enrich their understanding.

 

Parent Education Session

Parents meet with a Project EASE teacher who gives them background information on the role parents play in developing the receptive and expressive abilities of their children.

Concepts Covered:

  1. Parents are the first source of vocabulary development for their children and they continue to be a critical source for verbal interactions.

  2. Parents can influence and broaden their child's vocabulary by the kinds of interactions they have at home.

  3. Activities that help broaden a child's vocabulary are:

    • book reading

    • extended conversations

    • discussions about events and/or concepts that go beyond the here and now

  4. Vocabulary will greatly impact their child's literacy development throughout the school years; in particular it will impact reading comprehension and written language performance

 

At School Activities

Parents directly observe their child in structured activities which demonstrate verbal fluency, lexical searching, word classification, prediction, labeling, and word associations.

Parents engage in one-on-one activities with their child, such as ;

  1. Making pictorial word webs about a single topic (e.g., things to do outside, things about school, favorite things to do on vacation).

  2. Guessing the names of items from verbal clues. Children describe items to parents and have them guess, and parents read riddles to children to have them name the items.

  3. Reading books together that have an array of words centered on a single topic.

  4. Reading books that require the child to guess items hidden under a flap.

  5. Making associations between words as to how they are alike and different.

 

At Home Activities

Children bring home a structured book activity to do at home each week for three weeks. The activity includes a specific book which models the desired language interaction, a scripted set of directions that guides parents, a follow up art activity, and an evaluation sheet. The selected books demonstrate how words are classified, are related to a specific topic, contain precise language, introduce rare words, explain a topic, define concepts, label items, and describe features and attributes.

 

Books Used In Unit

Bunting, J. (1996). My first action word book. New York: Dorling
  Kindersley.
Color fun. (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books.
Let's count. (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books .
Let's go shopping. (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books .
Nature. (1997). New York: Covent Garden Books.
Out and about. (1996). New York: Covent Garden Books.
Priddy, R. (1995). Baby's book of animals. New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Priddy, R. (1995). Baby's book of nature. New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Sipett, D. (1996). The really amazing animal book. New York: Dorling
  Kindersley.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Boats. New York: Simon Schuster.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Cars. New York: Simon Schuster.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Insects. New York: Simon Schuster.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Jungle animals. New York: Simon
  Schuster.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Trucks. New York: Simon Schuster.
Royston, A. (1991). Eye opener: Zoo animals. New York: Simon
  Schuster.
Super senses. (1996). New York: Covent Garden Books.
Things that grow. (1996). New York: Covent Garden Books.
Treasure hunt. (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books.
What's in the box? (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books.
What's inside?. (1995). New York: Covent Garden Books.
What's inside series: Animal homes (1995). New York: Dorling
  Kindersley.
What's inside series: Boats. (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
What's inside series: Insects (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
What's inside series: Plants (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
What's Inside series: Trucks (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.

 

Flash Cards Used

Things In the Garden. (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Things in the House. (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Things That Go. (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.
Word Play. (1995). New York: Dorling Kindersley.

 

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