Linking school and home drives vocabulary retention

Linking school and home drives vocabulary retention

The stronger the link between school and home, the more efficiently children learn vocabulary. That means focused, relevant home study and more parental involvement.

“More exposures means better retention”

Here’s some research that will come as no surprise to parents: children who consolidate their school learning by refreshing it at home tend to get better grades.[1]

Perhaps more interesting, though, is that revision of this kind is especially effective when it comes to vocabulary learning.[2] This is true for two reasons. The first of these is straightforward: more exposures to new vocabulary always means better retention.

“Bring the words to mind anywhere”

Then there’s what’s called “context-dependent memory” – as anyone who has ever retraced their steps to find lost car keys knows, your location can really affect your ability to remember.

If a child studies the same words at home that they studied at school, this knowledge is no longer context-dependent – they can bring the words to mind no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

“Meaningful participation for parents”

The role of parents is also central to a strong home/school relationship. When parents are in tune with what their child is learning at school, they can help reinforce it at home and further increase exposure to new words.

Whether it’s simply using this vocabulary around the house or working them into family word games, this kind of involvement offers parents more meaningful participation in their child’s education, and is proven by research to increase academic achievement.

When parents demonstrate an active interest in their child’s learning, this is also shown to boost their self-esteem, and motivate them to engage more fully with their studies.[3]

  1. Cooper, H., Civey Robinson, J. and Patall, E. (2006) Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement? A Synthesis of Research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research. 76 (1), pp. 1-62.
  2. Hiebert, E.H. and Kamil, M.L. (2005) Teaching and Learning Vocabulary: Bringing Research to Practice. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cheung, C. and and Pomerantz, E. (2011) Parents’ Involvement in Children’s Learning in the United States and China: Implications for Children’s Academic and Emotional Adjustment. Child Development. 82 (3), pp. 932-50.