BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI--(Marketwire - Dec 10, 2012) - On the heels of yesterday's U.S. Education Department's report showing a continued erosion in vocabulary skills, a father-daughter team from Michigan launched today a video app for smart phones called Vocab Tunes, and a 143-page manual in hardcover and e-book and a DVD called Vocab Tunes Root Words.
Michigan physician Sita R. Kaura, M.D., and his daughter, Manisha Shelly Kaura, currently a pre-med student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, have developed what they call the equivalent of multiplication tables to make it easier for children and adults to read, understand and remember thousands of new words.
"As the U.S. Education Department's report showed, following the old beaten path just isn't working. We need fresh approaches. The way young children are taught to read by parents and teachers in our schools learning only phonics and memorization of sounds and letters doesn't equip a child beyond 1st grade," said Dr. Kaura, who lives in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "The average high-school graduate has a vocabulary of about 40,000 words. Our approach can teach someone 100,000 new words in 21 days when using phonics and memorization in combination with understanding root words and prefixes."
The Kaura's first introduced the concept in 2010 with their book Rockin Root Words 1 & 2 (© 2010, Prufrock Press, www.prufrock.com). Now, they have created the program made fun for children with 21 short musical videos. The manual and DVD, like the app, are intended to make it easy to teach and learn root words and prefixes that can provide someone a near "endless understanding of any word in any subject matter." The songs are available at the iTunes' App Store for 99 cents apiece or $9.99 for all 21 songs; the e-book manual for $9.99; the hardcover book for $19.99 and the DVD for $29.95. The hardcover book and DVD can be purchased together at a special price of $39.95 and are available at www.Amazon.com.
An overview video about the Vocab Tunes method is available for viewing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSr1LcuEI40.
An excerpt from the e-book reads, "Vocabulary knowledge not only contributes to reading comprehension, but also is linked to academic success (National Reading Panel, 2000). However, vocabulary growth is inadequately addressed in current educational curricula, especially between preschool and the end of second grade, when it is most important (Biemiller, 2000). By the time a child reaches the end of second grade, he or she has learned 4,000 to 8,000 words, adding 1,000 words per year in the years following (Biemiller, 2005). These numbers are staggering when you consider a gap of 2,000 words equals approximately two grade levels."
According to the Kaura's book, three compelling reasons exist for the Vocab Tunes program:
1. "Root words are everywhere in the English language. Greek and Latin word parts make up more than 60 percent of English words, 70 to 90 percent of science terminology, 71 percent of social studies terminology, and a vast majority of mathematical terms (Farsupt and Samuels, 2008; Green, 1990). Learning Greek and Latin roots provide students advantages such as comfort with long words, advanced awareness and spelling improvement in science and technical language (Thompson, 2002). Through studying root words, children understand the internal structure of words and discover connections with word families."
2. "The human brain works as a 'pattern detector.' Longer words contain meaningful patterns like dent, dentist, denture, and dentine. These root words provide consistent patterns with consistent meanings and spellings. While phonic programs have been very successful in teaching one-syllable words to young children like -ook, nook, cook and look or -ake is used to make bake, cake, lake, and take, the patterns do nothing to provide any meaning to the word."
3. "Psycholinguistic research has shown there are different ways in which we can input vocabulary into the human brain (Yamazaki, 2007). Suppose you learn the words by memorizing one word at a time. The words will be stored separately in the brain, as demonstrated in the balloons in the air illustrations. Or we can input and store words in the brain by linking them through meaning. Thus, if the reader notes that root -dent (tooth) is a root word for dentist (doctor), dentine (covering for the teeth), and denture (artificial teeth), these words will be stored under the common root and other words related to this root word can be added (Yamazaki, 2007). Mental organization occurs when root words are learned along with the meaning of parts (Corson, 1995, 1997). Therefore, learning vocabulary using root words, which organizes the words through themes and concepts makes comprehension much easier."
Dr. Kaura said, "We really do believe this method for improving reading and vocabulary is as revolutionary as times tables helped dramatically improve arithmetic skills. We hope parents and teachers will check out Vocab Tunes and how it can help significantly improve the academic success of their children and students."