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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Results released from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that in a new vocabulary section of the test, US students knew about half of what was expected. Eighth graders scored an average of 265 out of 500 and fourth graders 218.

Nearly half of 8th graders didn’t know that “permeates” means to spread all the way through and most fourth graders didn’t know that “puzzled” means confused.

Busy schedules afford families little time to talk. Many lose dinner time together, when kids hear new words about politics, schedules, movies, or sports. After watching a TV show, it’s good to talk about it – what was real, appealing or realistic.

Vocabulary is a key to reading comprehension; but not new words in isolation. Conversation, asking kids their opinions, telling them yours, are both a fun and a smart way to help kids learn new words, which is critical in today’s knowledge-based economy.

Read more in The Wall Street Journal.

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