You’ve heard of the Digital Divide, well, here’s a very different chasm in education: the Word Gap. What’s this? “A gap in vocabulary between rich and poor,” says Shane DeRolf, founder and CEO of Big Word Club. Research has documented that students from lower socioeconomic homes hear as many as 30 million fewer words by the time they’re four years-old, translating to a gap of 400-700 words in their vocabularies between themselves and kids from higher socioeconomic families. “If you consider that vocabulary is the single best predictor of success in school and in life,” he says, “then it’s easy to see why disadvantaged kids who know fewer words at kindergarten tend to start behind and stay behind. 400-700 words is a lot but it’s not insurmountable.” Providing parents and teachers with better tools to teach vocabulary to today’s media-savvy kids in ways that kids love and that work for busy teachers and parents is the mission of Big Word Club. “How do you close the Word Gap in America? In the same way that you eat an elephant—one bite at a time—we believe you do it one word and one day at a time,” says Shane. Big Word Club has developed one of the first low-cost, highly scalable digital learning programs that uses books, songs, animation and dance to teach kids a new “BIG” word every day of the school year—that’s 180 new words every year. Meanwhile, they’re helping a generation of kids fall in love with words—which they strongly believe will set them on a course for success that will last a lifetime. Learn more.
By: Victor Rivero