My students need electronic dictionaries so that looking up new words won't get in the way of staying hooked into the story!
Despite my students' passion for reading, the 30 million word gap that my students began their elementary education with is still impacting my students as they prepare for high school. At times, a single page of grade level text will have half a dozen unknown words.
A uniquely hardworking bunch, since I started teaching them in September I have been overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and grit.
99% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and most will be the first in their families to attend college. And yet, despite these disadvantages, my students truly bring meaning to one of our KIPP mottos: “We will either find a way or make one.” With many taking the train for over an hour and a half to arrive at school for our early start time (7:25 am), I am humbled by their commitment to their education. Not only do our kids come early, they also stay later and attend school on Saturdays and during the summer. And while most of our students have, over time, caught up to grade level, our students with learning disabilities still struggle to work through the challenging vocabulary found in texts such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies.
When these students read high level literature, they are often faced with over a dozen new words on each page. For some, this means skipping over the new words entirely and losing the text’s meaning. For others, it means a great deal of frustration as they frequently interrupt their reading to look up new words in the dictionary. And while looking up a new word or two per page works for the more advanced readers, for my kids who struggle, the time spent looking up dozens of new words makes reading fluently nearly impossible. With access to electronic dictionaries, however, my kids would find the process of learning new words exciting, rather than tedious. And since looking up words electronically would take a fraction of the time, the process would no longer disrupt their understanding and engagement with the text at hand. For my highest level readers, encountering new words can be a bit of a thrill: a moment in which their learning is entirely in their own hands.
These students—my word nerds—are not just building their vocabulary, they’re demonstrating a confidence in their own abilities to learn which will serve them to and through college.
For my struggling readers, however, the volume of new words they encounter can be daunting. With electronic dictionaries on hand, however, my kids will view looking up new words as exciting--a process that, over time, will make even the most resistant reader a true word nerd.
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|Franklin Merriam Webster Intermediate Dictionary/Thesaurus - Black/Silver • Best Buy||$32.99||15||$494.85|
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