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Extra time for vocabulary may not make a difference

09/08/2016 Joanna

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US has shown that dedicating extra time to teaching vocabulary may not actually improve children's abilities.

The researchers observed students between the ages of four and nine in four different US states. A third of the children attended four 30-minute vocabulary-booster sessions, which was seen to improve vocabulary in comparison to general language-comprehension lessons.

However, a third were given double the amount of booster sessions, which did not have any additional impact on the children's abilities.

A study conducted by Save the Children last month showed that around 80,000 boys are behind in language and communication when they start school, which is equivalent to four pupils in every reception class.

In some cases, the students were struggling to follow simple instructions, or even speak in full sentences, the study showed.

With this in mind, researchers concluded that booster sessions might be more beneficial if delivered on a one-to-one basis and specifically for students who have had trouble grasping vocabulary. 

However, more research is needed in this area to determine if this would indeed improve children's vocabulary, as it currently seems like students who are already excelling in their studies will see no additional benefit.

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