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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:44 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:01 am
Posts: 122
Dear all,

I've read many times that seeing a new word in the context i.e. reading books is the only right way for expanding vocabulary but somehow our experience in a last few months is different.
DS is in Yr5, preparing for Verbal Reasoning exam GL format.
After working through spelling and vocabulary books and identifying more than 1,000 new words in 4 months, I see that my son became more confident reader. Challenging classic books now are less frightening.
So basically, in our experience - the word was identified and learned while doing daunting tests and now when we read books, it's always a happy moment to see a newly acquired word.
I doubt that we would be able to identify more than 1,000 words in the period of 4 months by just reading books. I am certain that we won't be able to write down 1,000 sentences. It's not just time consuming activity but very boring from my son's point of view and I understand him. The words we identified, DS still remembers them and we are reviewing them from time to time.

The question is - shall we carry on, and our way is just one of a few or I am missing something important here?

In terms of reading level - DS is reading daily min 30 minutes (in Yrs 1-4: 15-20 minutes). At the moment he is reading "The Deathly Hallows" and helping parents to understand some words. I know that some of his friends are reading more challenging classic books but we are also speaking another language at home.

Our main goal at the moment is to expand vocabulary. I am not questioning benefits of reading books, doing comprehension, creative writing, just asking experienced parents/tutors if our way of learning has some disadvantages and we need stop picking up new words from tests and just spend more time reading good books.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:42 am
Posts: 170
The downside, I see of learning words out of context from a word list, is that it may work for an 11+ exam in that your DS may just be able to remember the meanings/synonyms/antonyms for a 11+ exams (and if that is the sole purpose of the exercise, then it seems to be working for him) but longer term his vocabulary may not benefit as much if the words were learnt during the context of reading challenging texts.

Then again, every child is different - so who is to say that your DS may not benefit longer term from such a strategy.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:17 pm 

Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 2:05 pm
Posts: 7044
Location: Reading
Reading has other benefits other than learning vocab in context. It will also help their writing skills and comprehension skills for a start.

If your DC learns vocab better through lists etc then fair enough, but still encourage them to read as well.

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