James Paul Gee
A Professional Development Wiki for Educators. Improving Teacher Quality Project: Montclair State
Publication year: 2008

Success in school requires children to comprehend the complex academic language found in the content areas (e.g., science, math, social studies). This, in turn, requires a good school-based vocabulary and familiarity with the syntactic and discourse features of such language. It is best to get ready for these language demands early in life at home before coming to school and to sustain home-based support for such academic language development thereafter, because it is difficult to develop a good school-based vocabulary starting late without such early and on ongoing home-based support (Gee, 2004). To remedy such a vocabulary problem requires lots of reading—which people with a poor vocabulary are often not motivated to do—but, unfortunately, lots of reading, while important, is neither highly efficient nor totally effective, by itself, as a way to learn vocabulary (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001).