By Erica Rakowicz

A vast vocabulary is a valuable tool for kids, adults and all the in-betweens. Unfortunately, many don’t have a vast vocabulary; some even walk around with an extremely limited head of words. For those who have a vocabulary that could be found in a Dr. Seuss book, everyday life can prove to be taxing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve had to write papers, keep journals and converse with other beings in a sense making manner, all to get a point across, all to speak my brain.

I remember being pestered by spelling tests when I was younger. Writing the words over and over trained me to memorize the spelling. Note cards helped with learning the definitions. At the time, I dreaded the wrist cramps and daunting looks of a list of words, but I remember feeling very smart when I would incorporate my new words into my conversations and sentences.

Spelling and definitions are as important as learning how to tell time. If you can read a clock, write and understand your words and use the two skills in everyday life, you’ll be significantly better off than those who haven’t mastered those basics (and believe me, many people of all ages truly haven’t mastered the basics and even ignore the concepts).

Vocabulary is important. So many studies have recently been directed toward slipping performance rates in science and math for American students. Most studies focus on those two subjects because of their use later in life, when it comes time for children to get a career.

Most reports value science and math because they’re “money-making subjects” that will “advance America” and “provide jobs for intelligent people.”

If teachers get fogged by this overload of scientific data in relation to subject matter, spelling, reading, vocabulary and basic communication skills fall to the wayside.

Sure, you might be able to solve brilliant mathematical equations, but what good is it if you can’t write a thorough paragraph with correct wording and decent spelling?

Does that mean you wouldn’t be able to read that type of information?

What happens when you have to understand important directions?

Do numbers help you for that? Maybe a telephone number would, but when you dial and the other line answers, would you be able to use the right words to say what you need?

Teachers could enforce spelling and defining words a bit stronger, to help students understand the value of expanding your word bank.

I’m sure psychologists would weigh in and suggest incentives, which could work for the cause as well.

Maybe teachers could speak about stronger adjectives, and useful ones at that, not obscure ones that have the potential to be forgotten within the next hour.

Literacy can truly begin to build a person. With more focus on literacy skills and diversifying a person’s vocabulary, maybe we’d all be better at communicating. Maybe then, we wouldn’t even need the extensive math equations and science experiments.

I’m sure we’d still need them, but it’s a nice thought regardless. That’s a whole other type of literacy.


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