Saturday, December 31, 2011

Research on Reading - The Secret Weapon for Gifted and Talented Test Preparation

I should rename this site "How to turn your slightly above average child into a Gifted and Talented A+ student".   When I'm closer to the test, I'll probably panic and start focusing on which workbooks will give the child the edge.   But in the mean time, I've got important news for longer term test prep.

I've been reading academic research papers from the test authors to get some insight on what they test and why.  I came across this nugget:  "A big vocabulary will increase your child's brain power."  I put the actual quote at the bottom since it's so dry.  There are numerous articles on why testing for vocabulary is one of the key predictors of success in academics that go along with this theory.

For months I've been stumped on why kids who focus on reading at home do so well on the GAT tests, even though the GAT tests are nonverbal.  Now I know.   Having a big vocabulary opens the mind to learning new ideas and concepts, and vocabulary accelerates learning.   At a very young age, this can be a significant advantage on a test.

Bottom line for test prep - read every day to your child.  If you do nothing else, do this.

OK, here's the quote, from David Lohman and Joni Lakin in an article entitled "Reasoning and Intelligence".   David Lohman may or many not be the leader in his field, but he's the only one that posts all of his papers on his website.  When the author refers to reasoning tests, he is referring to assessment tests to distinguish these from aptitude tests.

"... concludes that the ability to infer word meanings from the contexts in which they occur is the cause of high correlation typically observed between vocabulary and reasoning tests. But there is also a synergism in that vocabulary knowledge allows comprehension and expression of a broader array of ideas, which in turn facilitate the task of learning new words and concepts. Thus, language functions as a vehicle for the expression, refinement, and acquisition of thought, and the humble vocabulary test masks an enormous amount of reasoning and remembering."

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