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vocabulary remediation for 11yo rising 6th grader?

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My bff has an 11 yo ds going into 6th grade ps. He is considerably behind in reading comprehension due to lack of vocabulary. He failed the reading portion of the required standard test. His issue seems to be similar to vocabulary delays that might be present in an english as a second language situation. His primary caregiver when he was a toddler was someone who did not speak english well or often. As a result, kiddo has substandard language skills. He has been tested for a variety of learning disabilities and has been negative for them.


My friend is looking for some kind of vocab remediation, preferably a computer program or online game type program, that she could use with him over the summer. He is testing about 2-3 grade below his age-grade.


Any recommendation or advice? Thanks.

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I would make sure that was no underlying reading problem first with some diagnostic tests: the NRRF and my reading grade level test, the MWIA, and my New Elizabethian Test.


Then, I really like the McGuffey readers, they have difficult words diacritically marked and defined and explained after each passage. I would start him out reading the definitions before and after and helping him figure out how to understand them from context, then just after once he is doing well with the format. I would start with either the 3rd or 4th reader, whichever seems a good fit. The are available in pdf form online for free from Gutenberg Press, I like the pdf versions but you could use the text versions for vocab. You can buy reprints from Amazon if they look like they will work well, you want the 1879 version with the blue and orange covers, not the 1828 version with brown covers.

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Actually, it looks like you need the pdf versions to see the definitions. And, the definitions are all the way through the 4th reader but don't seem so start until somewhere around page 107 with the 3rd reader. Some of the defined words on that page include "hinder" and "conquer." I would find a level where he does not know the words and start there, or maybe a few reading passages below to build up confidence.


I like the combination of explicit definition combined with the word read in a sentence for context, it is a powerful way to build up vocabulary. There is also a wide range of types of passages from different genres.

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The 4th reader also has comprehension questions. But, I would not do them for every single reading, I would do a few a week, you can get burned out on them.


I also like a Kindle reader or kindle app on an iPad or iPad mini, you can upload a free dictionary and then get a definition of any word you do not know just by clicking on it. Then, he could read in his area of interest while learning vocabulary.

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