Those interested in making sure kindergarten children learn lots of “academic” or “really big” words (“San Lorenzo kindergartners make big strides in mastering language,” InsideBayArea news, Dec. 8) might want to read a recent study done by Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies in London. The study shows that having a large vocabulary at age five has only a small relationship with having a large vocabulary when you are an adult. In contrast, Sullivan and Brown reported the amount of reading we do as adults has a strong relationship to adult vocabulary size.
This is in agreement with many studies that show that we gradually acquire the meaning of complex words as we see them in print in a comprehensible context.
Developing a love of reading through stories and strengthening libraries might be a better investment than giving five-year-olds vocabulary lessons.