Another colleague, friend, and fellow slicer(who teaches 4th grade in Texas) often talks about her students lack of words and the connection to struggling writers. If our students don't have a bountiful supply of words how are they able to write with effective word choice in a way that paints a picture for their reader???
All of this conversation has made me think about words and struggling readers. I have one student that comes to mind every time I think of this. The more I work with her the more apparent it. I really don't think fluency, rate, or comprehension are her problem. The root of her problem is, her lack of words. She gets stuck on a word and it's not that she can't decode it, she can. It's hard for her because it's an unfamiliar word. She has no background knowledge about the word. Every time she gets stuck I ask, do you know what that word means? Have you ever heard it? More often than not, her answer is no.
I know there is a connection between a child's lack of words and struggling readers and I know this is probably not new information for any of you. But, how do we help?? More time independently reading, more time read aloud to, more exposure to words??