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American Educator

Summer 2014
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Giving Young Children the Curriculum They Deserve

The Magic of Words
Teaching Vocabulary in the Early Childhood Classroom .By Susan B. Neuman and Tanya S. Wright
From the beginning of schooling, children from various socioeconomic groups differ greatly in their vocabulary knowledge; those from high-income families tend to know many more words than those from low-income ones. Research shows that certain practices for teaching vocabulary—an important building block for learning—such as making connections among words and repeatedly exposing students to content-related words, can accelerate young children's oral vocabulary development, regardless of family income.

Starting Off Strong
The Importance of Early Learning .By Chrys Dougherty
Our nation is far from ensuring that all students, especially economically disadvantaged ones, graduate from high school ready for college and other postsecondary education. Because learning gaps appear early, it's important to strengthen early childhood education by building a rigorous curriculum across subjects to develop students' knowledge and vocabulary.

Taken for Granted
Why Curriculum Content Is Like Oxygen .By Carolyn Gosse and Lisa Hansel
A rich curriculum is the necessary precondition for improving schools—and it's essential that students receive it early. Core Knowledge Language Arts is one child-friendly, content-rich program for preschool through third grade that can help teachers begin to build the broad academic knowledge and vocabulary that all children need.

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
Math Anxiety: Can Teachers Help Students Reduce It? .By Sian L. Beilock and Daniel T. Willingham
Although math makes some students anxious, research shows that teachers can rely on a few techniques to assist those whose nervousness impedes understanding.

Writing about Writing
The Challenge of Helping Students "Get It Down on Paper" .By Andy Waddell
An English teacher reflects on various aspects of student writing, such as correcting common mistakes and supporting students in facing the blank page.

Where We Stand
A Strong Start for All Young Learners .By Randi Weingarten


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