was first developed in New Zealand in the late 1980’s by two teachers who requested for a local printer to prepare 80 copies for their students. From this modest beginning, we have now printed over 1,000,000 copies sold around the world in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Pacific Islands, Oman, Spain and Qatar.
The company is led by Jenny Aston and many other partners and promoters throughout the world. Our partners have good understanding of the schools in their countries and areas as well as the needs of their teachers and students.
Sunshine Books International Limited is known for producing high-quality and low-cost resources for primary-grade classrooms. Our company encourages suggestions and comments from teachers who use the books in their classrooms.
All feedback is a welcome means for keeping our books current and relevant.
Through the years we have continually updated MY DICTIONARY. Teachers’ input has been sought for each revision to assure that the words and spellings included are those in most common use by their country’s 6–8 year-old students.
MY DICTIONARY presents alphabetized lists of words that young students most frequently use in their reading, writing and spelling. Extra space is allotted for students to add their own words so that MY DICTIONARY becomes each child’s own personal word book.
MY THESAURUS was developed by USA educators for their country’s elementary schools to complement MY DICTIONARY. It was published in 2009. MY THESAURUS suggests synonyms for words students commonly use when writing and offers extra space for students to add their own personal words. It aids students in creating more interesting writing and provides simple information about the English language.
USA MY DICTIONARY and MY THESAURUS can be used independently or as a set. Some schools send MY DICTIONARY on to the next grade level where MY THESAURUS is introduced. Students then have both books to use as resources for their literacy activities.
Teaching effective vocabulary published by Department of Children, Schools and Family in the UK says vocabulary is more than a list of words, and although the size of one’s vocabulary matters, it’s knowing how to use it which matters.
Students who acquire a substantial vocabulary are often able to think more deeply, express themselves better, and learn new things more quickly. The number of words one knows as well as the depth of understanding of those words is related to the ability to think, according to Susan Canizares, PhD in Language and Literacy development.
Vocabulary is a strong indicator of reading success. (Biemiller, 2003)
Many researches show how important learning vocabulary is and what its correlation is to one’s ability to process information and adapt to the new circumstances more effectively. We believe students with strong vocabulary find reading, comprehending texts and understanding different situations easier and are more confident to express what they think and feel, as the ability to appreciate the subtlety of thoughts and feelings deepens the wealth of communication.
Children’s declining reading comprehension compared to more able peers from age 8 onwards largely resulted from a lack of vocabulary knowledge (Becker, 1977), and that this was primarily caused by a lack of learning opportunities, not a lack of natural ability. (Chall et.al, 1990)
The researchers in 1970s established how teaching vocabulary at the earlier stage of elementary school could gradually affect the performance of students at more senior levels. We believe My Dictionary and My Thesaurus could effectively provide a well-rounded and cost-effective starter pack for young students to be well-equipped with the basic vocabulary and keep them interested in the continuous learning.
Recent research shows that vocabulary growth is largely determined by parental practices, particularly before the age of 7. (Biemiller, 2003)
Children mainly use words their parents and other adults use with them in conversations, and acquire larger vocabularies when their parents use more words. (Hant and Risley, 1995)
Let’s get our children word-confident!
How can we, as parents help improve children’s vocabulary?
Every child has different interests and strengths. Some children respond better to word games, whilst others are just as happy making most of the vocabulary books. Some children remember quicker with visual aids such as flashcards and word applications whilst other children just love being imaginative and want to use the words in their creative stories.
To help our children get more interested in building their vocabulary power, let us try a few tips and apply them to our activities and plays.
Use or make Flashcards – Use the existing ones or create your own flashcards with your children and talk to them about how the words are associated with the drawings or symbols in the flashcards. Why don’t we start with the words in My Dictionary and My Thesaurus!
Make use of the Key Words – Select the key words from My Dictionary and My Thesaurus and think of other words that are associated with the key words and expand!
Out and About – Take the children out and show them what the words mean in real life!
Repeat and Repeat – Repeat use of the new words in many different contexts in the daily conversations.
Exposure!!! – Get your children exposed to the world of vocabularies! Make use of multimedia (maybe dictionaries, word books, flashcards, CDs, DVDs, mobile applications, etc.). Expose the new words daily and get your children interested.
Revise the new words learnt from school at home to make the journey of learning vocabulary complete!
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