(Source: Carol Read’s ABC of Teaching Children blog)

“Use your words.” Early literacy and preschool teachers, parents, grandparents, and other caregivers can often be heard patiently saying that same phrase to young children throughout the day. Teaching and encouraging children to use words to express thoughts, feelings, and opinions not only supports a child’s social-emotional development, but also increases vocabulary acquisition. Not surprisingly, new data released from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows a strong connection between vocabulary acquisition and literacy.

Connections between literacy and vocabulary acquisition

The report released last month compares vocabulary results from 2009 with 2011 reading assessments. Both assessments were based on nationally representative samples of fourth-graders, eight-graders, and twelfth-graders.

  • Fourth-grade students performing above the 75th percentile in reading comprehension in 2011 also had the highest average vocabulary score.
  • Lower-performing fourth-graders at or below the 25th percentile in reading comprehension had the lowest average vocabulary score.
  • At both grades 4 and 8, the average vocabulary scores for at risk students were lower than the scores for other students.

Using music as part of an early literacy curriculum

While this report measured literacy and vocabulary abilities of fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders, we know that vocabulary acquisition and literacy begin much earlier. ABC Music & Me, an early literacy curriculum created by Kindermusik International, uses music to support young children’s early literacy and language development, including vocabulary acquisition. Picture vocabulary cards support unit-by-unit vocabulary, comprehension, memory, and pre-literacy skills. The ABC Music & Me early literacy curriculum is full of vocabulary-building opportunities. Our stories, songs, and activities introduce students to hundreds of words and their meanings.

For more information about using the ABC Music & Me early literacy curriculum in your classroom, school, or district, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.

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