It's a well-established fact that kids with low vocabulary skills are destined to have low reading ability, and that low reading ability in turn leads to poor overall academic performance. In order to reverse this trend wherever it rears its ugly head, Evan-Moor has produced two series of books for elementary students to help them master the art of vocabulary acquisition, retainment, and use through context-based vocabulary learning.
A particular strength of these titles is their usefulness to parents whose children are not homeschooled. If your kids are in public, private, or charter schools, the Evan-Moor vocabulary products are great ways to make sure they're up to speed and comprehending at their grade level. These are also excellent titles for teachers who want to supplement their curriculum with extra homework or in-class practice, or who simply need more ideas for instruction.
For grades 2-6+, the Daily Academic Vocabulary books introduce kids to a variety of challenging academic words through daily lessons and weekly review. Academic vocabulary consists of those words often encountered across all the disciplines, and which students need to be familiar with to achieve success. Short lessons appear in 36 weekly units organized around themes; for instance, two forms of the word "former" and two forms of the word "latter" appear in one of the sixth grade units.
To begin each Monday-Thursday lesson, teachers read a brief scripted introduction to the students, who then study the words under consideration and complete half-page assignments. On Friday, assignments are a full page, and require students to use and identify the four words they've learned throughout the week (one new word is introduced each day, excepting Friday). Emphasis is on context, and understanding what the word means as it appears in text.
Younger students (grades K-2 and 1-3) will find the four-volume Word Family Stories and Activities series more approachable, with its simpler words and emphasis on similarities among word groups. These texts are to be used as needed, and are equally effective for building vocabulary and spelling skills. Readers study word families according to suffix, learning to identify sounds and spelling rules, and how to interchange prefixes.
Each Word Family Stories and Activities book includes a variety of reading- and writing-based assignments built around 16 similar word families. These are more visually-oriented books than most Evan-Moor offerings, tying words to pictures to help students keep them straight. For each word family, students construct a "slide and read" from materials in the book; a tab with each word in a particular family is pulled through another piece of paper and kids practice reading each word by itself.
Vocabulary isn't a subject parents or teachers can afford to overlook in their students' education, especially if they want those students to succeed in other academic disciplines. Knowing words and their meanings affects the two most basic building blocks of a good education, reading and writing, and these two series from Evan-Moor are particularly suited to supplementing your children's development as readers and writers with large and constantly growing vocabularies.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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