Why Make WordSmart Part of Your School’s Curriculum?


WordSmart helps teachers “close the gaps.” 

The Vocabulary Gap (Research Paper) 

Quick Highlights:

  • Vocabulary is the missing link in reading education. after phonics the key to high reading scores is a large vocabulary. Yet schools are not doing enough to teach vocabulary.
  • There is a sequential order in which children actually acquire words. When words are presented to children in this order, they learn and retain more new words. Most schools use word lists that are just random collections of words.

    *Unlike other vocabulary lists, the WordSmart list of 2160 core words— developed by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation after testing over 700,000 subjects— reflects the actual order in which students acquire words.

  • Traditional methods of vocabulary instruction (direct instruction, workbooks, “word walls”), though they might prevent the language gap from growing larger if begun schoolwide at an early enough age,  will never close the vocabulary gap that exists between today's students (3000-4000 word difference between high and low 2nd graders!), nor help make up the language deficit due to TV, Video Games, and the Internet (15,000 words lost to the average 14 year-old since 1950). 
  • Only a computer-aided vocabulary and knowledge building program like WordSmart can give students the repetitions, practice in context, and motivation they need to catch up in a hurry— raising reading comprehension scores while leaving teachers free to teach higher-order language skills (writing, poetry, literature, and so on).
  • We have an emergency in American schools; and workbooks and didactic instruction are just too slow.

The Grandparents’ Gap (Gallup Poll)

The vocabularies of all American children are shrinking….

The Reading Crisis (Reading Report Card, 2002)

  • 38% of American 4th graders cannot read at even basic proficiency….
  • When students’ vocabularies do not “grow with the books,” they begin to fall behind in reading. In the statistics from California, we can see that after 8th grade, when the vocabulary level of textbook jumps, the drop-off in reading comprehension is catastrophic. Students start to despair and begin to drop out.

The Competition Gap (TIMSS, Council on Competiveness)

  • American children do worse the longer they are in school…
  • Just when the reading and vocabulary load increases—around 4th grade—the drop off begins…
  • American students currently rank 17th in the world in science and 18th in mathematics. To complete in the Information Age economies of the 21st century, America’s children need world class reading, math, and science skills. Reading is the foundation.
  • Reading is the key to preparing our children to compete in the global economy; vocabulary is the key to world-class reading skills.


© 2004 WordSmart Corporation