Vocabulary refers to both words and their meanings. In early childhood, children develop an expansive understanding of meanings for words they hear others use, and how to use these words to talk with others. Learning vocabulary is critical in early childhood, because the more words (and their meanings) children know, the better they are able to understand or comprehend conversations or text. This knowledge also affects how much they can express their understandings and ideas. Research has shown that children’s early vocabulary acquisition predicts their overall academic achievement later on.

Unfortunately, not all children have an equitable chance to learn the Standard English vocabulary that is related to school success. For example, they may have limited access to books, a lack of shared reading time with ...

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