My daughter teaches first grade in Memphis public schools. When she attended elementary school she learned vocabulary from a curriculum called Wordly Wise. She has a well developed and expressive vocabulary.
She now teaches the curriculum created by Scott Foresman published by
Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt. Each week’s reading lesson includes 30 vocabulary words. One week’s words: generation, steamboat, bow (of a boat). She says none of her students get bow and write sentences about hair bows, a meaning they understand and see. Forget about understanding generation!
One thing about learning and the way our brains are wired is that we turn off to failure; we do not develop the capacity for abstract understanding until around age 8. Why do we introduce abstract concepts like generation before children can succeed at understanding?
It is puzzling.
By comparison, Wordly Wise introduced 10 vocabulary words each week. It increases my daughter’s vocabulary when she was in elementary school.
We seem to be so focused on testing and scores that we are forgetting the learning process and the joy of learning, not to mention assessing curricula from the learner’s perspective.