I have not efficiently used the vocabulary studies in the Robinson Curriculum. Why? My children struggle with vocabulary. It takes too much time and effort for them that I find the task very frustrating. In fact, it makes me mad that I do not want to see vocabulary flash cards for a long time.
I rationalized that studying vocabulary after reading the book becomes a useless effort. I would think it is better to do it before reading. If you reviewed the vocabulary for that book prior to reading the material, then your child will be familiar with the word and not just guess it all the time from context. What if the child guesses it wrong? Thus, the chances of not comprehending the book is higher.
For a while, I did this with some of my children. It was a disaster because it requires so much from me. I got so frustrated with their lack of understanding of the vocabulary words. They cannot even pronounce it. Aargh… You can feel my misery right?
Well, since my focus was to get them to read as much book from the RC book list, I was hoping that they can not only appreciate the books but also the books can advance their reading level to the next level. So, I left vocabulary studies out of the picture.
I have to admit that this is a tremendous mistake on my part. But, I did not realize it until yesterday.
While I was cleaning my bedroom closet, a book fell on my feet. I picked up the book on the ground. The title is “Solving Your Child’s Reading Problems” by Ricki Linksman. I flipped through the pages and it brought me to the chapter on Vocabulary. God sent huh?
I think it was indeed. To digress a bit.
Proudly, my 16 yo daughter and I have discovered how to handle the discipline of Saxon Math. She has been consistently getting zero mistakes for her problem sets. She came to me yesterday to ask help on a distance word problem. She was so confused. I asked her to read the lessons again one more time. She complied. She still doesn’t understand how to do the practice set, which is an exercise about the current lesson.
I asked her where is her solution for that practice set that she is confused about. She told me that it is just in her head and that she did not even begin to do it because she does not know how to do it. Hmmmm…. I have to gently remind her that everything she needs to answer that problem is in the book. I told her to try it out again and solve it in paper and if she has any problems to come back to me. She came back but this time with the news that she got it. Guess how much mileage she got out of that in terms of confidence?
In the past three weeks, I have learned that this daughter is struggling so much in reading. She does not appreciate any book I give her on the Robinson Curriculum book list. Is she reading at all? I doubt. Something is going on. Challenge me on that one.
So, I have been researching what could be her problem? Does she have visual tracking problems?
I tried “action phonics” with her. We read aloud one chapter alternating reading the syllables. So if the sentence reads “The boy fell on Shasta Way Drive.”
We read it as:
The purpose of this is to read it by syllables, or by parts to train the brains to look at syllables at a time in reading. If a child can read small syllables with cvc (consonant-vowel-consonant) patterns, then the child can read words which is just a combination of cvc patterns.
I noticed that she is following the pencil when I move it to left and right as we read each syllable. She has no problem in this area. But, she was not reading fast enough for me. Sometimes, she is not confident on her syllables.
Then, after that, I got busy with other stuff and I had to focus on the other kids.
Thus, she regressed dramatically in her reading. Thus, I was at a lost on where to start her again.
Until this book dropped on my side. I don’t remember where I bought this book but it is here and I am holding it right now. I scanned it through.
This book explained the importance of vocabulary in solving reading problems.
If the child cannot recognize 50% of the vocabulary chosen, then it is most likely that she can only comprehend 50% of the material.
How does your child react to a new word? What strategies does your child use when faced with new words?
a. Does she look up the meaning in the dictionary or the glossary?
b. Did she figure it out the meaning by context or clues in the paragraph?
c. Did your child try to figure out what some of the word parts mean, such as the root, prefix or suffix?
d. Did your child guessed for the meaning?
e. Did your child blankly stared at the word?
If you child answered a, b, or c… she knows what to do. If she answered d and e, your child may be skipping many words without trying to figure out the meaning.
The comprehension skills of child may be covered under the guise of vocabulary deficits.
What is an instinctive approach to solve a child’s vocabulary problems? I would say a parent would under go a rigid vocabulary program teaching hundreds of new words. It is not a cure. One must focus on teaching the strategies to attack new words.
Another thing to consider is how to keep it in the long term memory of the child.
Finally, I get it with the vocabulary studies of the Robinson Curriculum. I gained some wisdom.
The Robinson Curriculum CDs contain a vocabulary software, a program that helps the children review their vocabulary words.
It is important to test our child and review their vocabulary words after reading because this is a way for us to determine how much he comprehended in the book. So, if he missed out many of the words, most likely he missed the gist of the story.
My conclusion is vocabulary studies should take priority in the reading component of the Robinson Curriculum.
For articles on homeschooling and the Robinson Curriculum method and Homeschooling , you may be interested in the following: