Arizona students lagging in vocabulary

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The nation's report card is out, and Arizona students are falling behind in vocabulary.  State leaders are changing how they teach in the classroom, but say parents can help at home too.

Students are leaving the classroom with less knowledge than the rest of the country.  At the elementary level Arizona is six points behind and on the middle school level they are four points behind.

Arizona is one of about a dozen states below the national average; this is according to the so-called 'Nation's Report Card' from the U.S. Department of Education.

Outside the classroom vocabulary is a crucial element of literacy and understanding of the world.  Inside the classroom, leaders believe help may come from the 'common core' standards.

That program incorporates vocabulary across the school day, in classes like science, or social studies.

Nearly every other state has adopted 'common core' policies.   In Arizona, it was introduced in some grades this year, and will expand to cover even more next year.

Experts across the country agree that school is only one part of the equation; they say parents can work wonders by focusing on vocabulary at home, asking their children to explain a word in something they have read.

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