Word Lists

001 - 100 --> First 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The First 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

The First 100 Most Commonly Used English Words




These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first 100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.





The First Hundred



  1. the
  2. of
  3. and
  4. a
  5. to
  6. in
  7. is
  8. you
  9. that
  10. it
  11. he
  12. was
  13. for
  14. on
  15. are
  16. as
  17. with
  18. his
  19. they
  20. I

  1. at
  2. be
  3. this
  4. have
  5. from
  6. or
  7. one
  8. had
  9. by
  10. word
  11. but
  12. not
  13. what
  14. all
  15. were
  16. we
  17. when
  18. your
  19. can
  20. said

  1. there
  2. use
  3. an
  4. each
  5. which
  6. she
  7. do
  8. how
  9. their
  10. if
  11. will
  12. up
  13. other
  14. about
  15. out
  16. many
  17. then
  18. them
  19. these
  20. so

  1. some
  2. her
  3. would
  4. make
  5. like
  6. him
  7. into
  8. time
  9. has
  10. look
  11. two
  12. more
  13. write
  14. go
  15. see
  16. number
  17. no
  18. way
  19. could
  20. people

  1. my
  2. than
  3. first
  4. water
  5. been
  6. call
  7. who
  8. oil
  9. its
  10. now
  11. find
  12. long
  13. down
  14. day
  15. did
  16. get
  17. come
  18. made
  19. may
  20. part

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Fountoukidis, Ed.D.


101 - 200 --> Second 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Second 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

The Second 100 Most Commonly Used English Words




These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first 1\
00 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.





The Second Hundred



  1. over
  2. new
  3. sound
  4. take
  5. only
  6. little
  7. work
  8. know
  9. place
  10. year
  11. live
  12. me
  13. back
  14. give
  15. most
  16. very
  17. after
  18. thing
  19. our
  20. just

  1. name
  2. good
  3. sentence
  4. man
  5. think
  6. say
  7. great
  8. where
  9. help
  10. through
  11. much
  12. before
  13. line
  14. right
  15. too
  16. mean
  17. old
  18. any
  19. same
  20. tell

  1. boy
  2. follow
  3. came
  4. want
  5. show
  6. also
  7. around
  8. form
  9. three
  10. small
  11. set
  12. put
  13. end
  14. does
  15. another
  16. well
  17. large
  18. must
  19. big
  20. even

  1. such
  2. because
  3. turn
  4. here
  5. why
  6. ask
  7. went
  8. men
  9. read
  10. need
  11. land
  12. different
  13. home
  14. us
  15. move
  16. try
  17. kind
  18. hand
  19. picture
  20. again

  1. change
  2. off
  3. play
  4. spell
  5. air
  6. away
  7. animal
  8. house
  9. point
  10. page
  11. letter
  12. mother
  13. answer
  14. found
  15. study
  16. still
  17. learn
  18. should
  19. America
  20. world

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.




201 - 299 --> Third 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Third 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Third 100 Most Commonly Used English Words




These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first 1\
00 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.





The Third Hundred



  1. high
  2. every
  3. near
  4. add
  5. food
  6. between
  7. own
  8. below
  9. country
  10. plant
  11. last
  12. school
  13. father
  14. keep
  15. tree
  16. never
  17. start
  18. city
  19. earth
  20. eye

  1. light
  2. thought
  3. head
  4. under
  5. story
  6. saw
  7. left
  8. don't
  9. few
  10. while
  11. along
  12. might
  13. close
  14. something
  15. seem
  16. next
  17. hard
  18. open
  19. example
  20. begin

  1. life
  2. always
  3. those
  4. both
  5. paper
  6. together
  7. got
  8. group
  9. often
  10. run
  11. important
  12. until
  13. children
  14. side
  15. feet
  16. car
  17. mile
  18. night
  19. walk
  20. white

  1. sea
  2. began
  3. grow
  4. took
  5. river
  6. four
  7. carry
  8. state
  9. once
  10. book
  11. hear
  12. stop
  13. without
  14. second
  15. later
  16. miss
  17. idea
  18. enough
  19. eat
  20. face

  1. watch
  2. far
  3. Indian
  4. really
  5. almost
  6. let
  7. above
  8. girl
  9. sometimes
  10. mountain
    LI>cut
  11. young
  12. talk
  13. soon
  14. list
  15. song
  16. being
  17. leave
  18. family
  19. it's

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.

301- 400 --> Fourth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Fourth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Fourth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Fourth Hundred



  1. body
  2. music
  3. color
  4. stand
  5. sun
  6. questions
  7. fish
  8. area
  9. mark
  10. dog
  11. horse
  12. birds
  13. problem
  14. complete
  15. room
  16. knew
  17. since
  18. ever
  19. piece
  20. told

  1. usually
  2. didn't
  3. friends
  4. easy
  5. heard
  6. order
  7. red
  8. door
  9. sure
  10. become
  11. top
  12. ship
  13. across
  14. today
  15. during
  16. short
  17. better
  18. best
  19. however
  20. low

  1. hours
  2. black
  3. products
  4. happened
  5. whole
  6. measure
  7. remember
  8. early
  9. waves
  10. reached
  11. listen
  12. wind
  13. rock
  14. space
  15. covered
  16. fast
  17. several
  18. hold
  19. himself
  20. toward

  1. five
  2. step
  3. morning
  4. passed
  5. vowel
  6. true
  7. hundred
  8. against
  9. pattern
  10. numeral
  11. table
  12. north
  13. slowly
  14. money
  15. map
  16. farm
  17. pulled
  18. draw
  19. voice
  20. seen

  1. cold
  2. cried
  3. plan
  4. notice
  5. south
  6. sing
  7. war
  8. ground
  9. fall
  10. king
  11. town
  12. I'll
  13. unit
  14. figure
  15. certain

  16. field
  17. travel
  18. wood
  19. fire
  20. upon

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



401 - 500 --> Fifth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Fifth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Fifth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Fifth Hundred



  1. done
  2. English
  3. road
  4. halt
  5. ten
  6. fly
  7. gave
  8. box
  9. finally
  10. wait
  11. correct
  12. oh
  13. quickly
  14. person
  15. became
  16. shown
  17. minutes
  18. strong
  19. verb
  20. stars

  1. front
  2. feel
  3. fact
  4. inches
  5. street
  6. decided
  7. contain
  8. course
  9. surface
  10. produce
  11. building
  12. ocean
  13. class
  14. note
  15. nothing
  16. rest
  17. carefully
  18. scientists
  19. inside
  20. wheels

  1. stay
  2. green
  3. known
  4. island
  5. week
  6. less
  7. machine
  8. base
  9. ago
  10. stood
  11. plane
  12. system
  13. behind
  14. ran
  15. round
  16. boat
  17. game
  18. force
  19. brought
  20. understand

  1. warm
  2. common
  3. bring
  4. explain
  5. dry
  6. though
  7. language
  8. shape
  9. deep
  10. thousands
  11. yes
  12. clear
  13. equation
  14. yet
  15. government
  16. filled
  17. heat
  18. full
  19. hot
  20. check

  1. object
  2. am
  3. rule
  4. among
  5. noun
  6. power
  7. cannot
  8. able
  9. six
  10. size
  11. dark
  12. ball
  13. material
  14. special
  15. heavy
  16. fine
  17. pair
  18. circle
  19. include
  20. built

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



501- 605 --> Sixth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Sixth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Sixth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Sixth Hundred



  1. can't
  2. matter
  3. square
  4. syllables
  5. perhaps
  6. bill
  7. felt
  8. suddenly
  9. test
  10. direction
  11. center
  12. farmers
  13. ready
  14. anything
  15. divided
  16. general
  17. energy
  18. subject
  19. Europe
  20. moon

  1. region
  2. return
  3. believe
  4. dance
  5. members
  6. picked
  7. simple
  8. cells
  9. paint
  10. mind
  11. love
  12. cause
  13. rain
  14. exercise
  15. eggs
  16. train
  17. blue
  18. wish
  19. drop
  20. developed

  1. window
  2. difference
  3. distance
  4. heart
  5. sit
  6. sum
  7. summer
  8. wall
  9. forest
  10. probably
  11. legs
  12. sat
  13. main
  14. winter
  15. wide
  16. written
  17. length
  18. reason
  19. kept
  20. interest

  1. arms
  2. brother
  3. race
  4. resent
  5. beautiful
  6. store
  7. job
  8. edge
  9. past
  10. sign
  11. record
  12. finished
  13. discovered
  14. wild
  15. happy
  16. beside
  17. gone
  18. sky
  19. glass
  20. million

  1. west
  2. lay
  3. weather
  4. root
  5. instruments
  6. meet
  7. third
  8. months
  9. paragraph
  10. raised
  11. represent
  12. soft
  13. whether
  14. chothes
  15. flowers
  16. represent
  17. soft
  18. whether
  19. chothes
  20. flowers
  21. shall
  22. theacher
  23. held
  24. describe
  25. drive

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



601 - 700 --> Seventh 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Seventh 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Seventh 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Seventh Hundred



  1. cross
  2. speak
  3. solve
  4. appear
  5. metal
  6. son
  7. either
  8. ice
  9. sleep
  10. village
  11. factors
  12. result
  13. jumped
  14. snow
  15. ride
  16. care
  17. floor
  18. hill
  19. pushed
  20. baby

  1. buy
  2. century
  3. outside
  4. everything
  5. tall
  6. already
  7. instead
  8. phrase
  9. soil
  10. bed
  11. copy
  12. free
  13. hope
  14. spring
  15. case
  16. laughed
  17. nation
  18. quite
  19. type
  20. themselves

  1. temperature
  2. bright
  3. lead
  4. everyone
  5. method
  6. section
  7. lake
  8. consonant
  9. within
  10. dictionary
  11. hair
  12. age
  13. amount
  14. scale
  15. pounds
  16. although
  17. per
  18. broken
  19. moment
  20. tiny

  1. possible
  2. gold
  3. milk
  4. quiet
  5. natural
  6. lot
  7. stone
  8. act
  9. build
  10. middle
  11. speed
  12. count
  13. cat
  14. someone
  15. sail
  16. rolled
  17. bear
  18. wonder
  19. smiled
  20. angle

  1. fraction
  2. Africa
  3. killed
  4. melody
  5. bottom
  6. trip
  7. hole
  8. poor
  9. let's
  10. fight
  11. surprise
  12. French
  13. died
  14. beat
  15. exactly

  16. remain
  17. dress
  18. iron
  19. couldn't
  20. fingers

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



701 - 800 --> Eighth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Eighth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Eighth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Eighth Hundred



  1. row
  2. least
  3. catch
  4. climbed
  5. wrote
  6. shouted
  7. continued
  8. itself
  9. else
  10. plains
  11. gas
  12. England
  13. burning
  14. design
  15. joined
  16. foot
  17. law
  18. ears
  19. grass
  20. you're

  1. grew
  2. skin
  3. valley
  4. cents
  5. key
  6. presidents
  7. brown
  8. trouble
  9. cool
  10. cloud
  11. lost
  12. sent
  13. symbols
  14. wear
  15. bad
  16. save
  17. experiment
  18. engine
  19. alone
  20. drawing


  1. east
  2. pay
  3. signal
  4. touch
  5. information
  6. express
  7. mouth
  8. yard
  9. equal
  10. decimal
  11. yourself
  12. control
  13. practice
  14. report
  15. straight
  16. rise
  17. statement
  18. stick
  19. party
  20. seeds

  1. suppose
  2. woman
  3. coast
  4. bank
  5. period
  6. wire
  7. choose
  8. clean
  9. visit
  10. bit
  11. whose
  12. received
  13. garden
  14. please
  15. strange
  16. caught
  17. fell
  18. team
  19. God
  20. captain

  1. direct
  2. ring
  3. serve
  4. child
  5. desert
  6. increase
  7. history
  8. cost
  9. maybe
  10. business

  11. separate
  12. break
  13. uncle
  14. hunting
  15. flow
  16. lady
  17. students
  18. human
  19. art
  20. feeling

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



801 - 900 --> Ninth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Ninth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Ninth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Ninth Hundred



  1. supply
  2. corner
  3. electric
  4. insects
  5. crops
  6. tone
  7. hit
  8. sand
  9. doctor
  10. provide
  11. thus
  12. won't
  13. cook
  14. bones
  15. tail
  16. board
  17. modern
  18. compound
  19. mine
  20. wasn't

  1. fit
  2. addition
  3. belong
  4. safe
  5. soldiers
  6. guess
  7. silent
  8. trade
  9. rather
  10. compare
  11. crowd
  12. poem
  13. enjoy
  14. elements
  15. indicate
  16. except
  17. expect
  18. flat
  19. seven
  20. interest

  1. sense
  2. string
  3. blow
  4. famous
  5. value
  6. wings
  7. movement
  8. pole
  9. exciting
  10. branches
  11. thick
  12. blood
  13. lie
  14. spot
  15. bell
  16. fun
  17. loud
  18. consider
  19. suggested
  20. thin

  1. position
  2. entered
  3. fruit
  4. tied
  5. rich
  6. dollars
  7. send
  8. sight
  9. chief
  10. Japanese
  11. stream
  12. plants
  13. rhythm
  14. eight
  15. science
  16. major
  17. observe
  18. tube
  19. necessary
  20. weight

  1. meat
  2. lifted
  3. process
  4. army
  5. hat
  6. property
  7. particular
  8. swim
  9. terms
  10. current
  11. park
  12. sell
  13. shoulder
  14. industry
  15. wash

  16. block
  17. spread
  18. cattle
  19. wife
  20. sharp

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



901 - 1000 --> Tenth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words





The Tenth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

Tenth 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

(These most commonly used words are ranked by frequency. The first 25 make up about one-third of all printed material in English. The first \
100 make up about one-half of all written material, and the first 300 make up about sixty-five percent of all written material in English.)





The Tenth Hundred



  1. company
  2. radio
  3. we'll
  4. action
  5. capital
  6. factories
  7. settled
  8. yellow
  9. isn't
  10. southern
  11. truck
  12. train
  13. printed
  14. wouldn't
  15. ahead
  16. chance
  17. born
  18. level
  19. triangle
  20. molecules

  1. France
  2. repeated
  3. column
  4. western
  5. church
  6. sister
  7. oxygen
  8. plural
  9. various
  10. agreed
  11. opposite
  12. wrong
  13. chart
  14. prepared
  15. pretty
  16. solution
  17. fresh
  18. shop
  19. suffix
  20. especially

  1. shoes
  2. actually
  3. nose
  4. afraid
  5. dead
  6. sugar
  7. adjective
  8. fig
  9. office
  10. huge
  11. gun
  12. similar
  13. death
  14. score
  15. forward
  16. stretched
  17. experience
  18. rose
  19. allow
  20. fear

  1. workers
  2. Washington
  3. Greek
  4. women
  5. brought
  6. led
  7. march
  8. northern
  9. create
  10. British
  11. difficult
  12. match
  13. win
  14. doesn't
  15. steel
  16. total
  17. deal
  18. determine
  19. evening
  20. nor

  1. rope
  2. cotton
  3. apple
  4. details
  5. entire
  6. corn
  7. substances
  8. smell
  9. tools
  10. conditions
  11. cows
  12. track
  13. arrived
  14. located
  15. sir

    LI>seat

  16. division
  17. effect
  18. underline
  19. view

Taken From: The Reading Teachers Book of Lists, Third Edition; by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph.D, Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed.D & Dona Lee Founto\
ukidis, Ed.D.



Historical Tidbits

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Historical Tidbits

Historical Tidbits

 

Black
College Firsts

 

  • style='font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt'>Lincoln University
    in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania is the oldest Black institution
    of higher learning. A Presbyterian
    minister named John Miller Dickey founded it in 1854. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> He had become frustrated because he
    could not get Ralston Amos, the treasurer of the national African
    Methodist Episcopal church, admitted into Princeton University Seminary or
    at a Presbyterian religious academy.

 

  • style='font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt'>Wilberforce University
    in Ohio was the first institution of higher learning founded by
    Blacks. The national African
    Methodist Episcopal church purchased it in 1862 and merged it with the
    A.M.E. Union Seminary a year later.

 

  • style='font-size:14.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt'>Tuskegee Institute (now
    University) was founded in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1881. It first
    opened as the Tuskegee Normal School with Booker T. Washington as its

    first principal. White teachers
    would not or were not expected to work under a Black man. style="mso-spacerun: yes"> Therefore, Tuskegee became the first
    Black institution of higher learning with an all Black faculty.

 

(See Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American
Culture
, edited by Howard Dodson, pp. 155, 169–161)

 

 

 





Learning and the Language Dilemma

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Learning and the Language Dilemma

Learning and the Language Dilemma

By Leon Dixon (1995)

 

After having worked with style='mso-spacerun:yes'> young people since 1973 at the W.E.B. DuBois
Learning Center, where volunteers have been helping students with their basic
skills, especially reading, I have come to realize that there are certain
aspects of language that have an influence on learning that many of us do not
seem to fully appreciate.

 

For one: each of us has our
own style of language. And if a certain number of us have enough language
similarities in common, then we collectively share a dialect. style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Every one of us thinks, feels, and imagines
in our own dialect. Textbooks and most
other sources of information are presented in Standard English (SE). style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Whenever we receive information in that form,
we must translate it into our dialect. A
problem that occurs is that most of us do not realize that this is taking
place. If our personal language usage is
close enough to SE, then this translation is done with enough ease so as not to
cause any problems.

 

Another thing: each
discipline has its own language with its own nuances. style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
All of which are couched in SE. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> I have noticed that when some young people
read their lessons, they can literally read (i.e. pronounce) the words, but
they often do not understand what is being expressed. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> They are trying to use the “rules” of their
dialect to interpret the SE of the text.
This is especially noticeable in the natural sciences and
mathematics.

 

A technique that I have
successfully employed in overcoming this hurdle is to work with the young
people to help them understand the concepts in their own dialect. style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Once they are able to satisfactorily explain
the concepts to me, using their own words, I proceed to explain to them how it
is expressed in SE. And I also help them
understand the problems that they are running into with their language
usage. It needs to be explained to them
that their dialect usage has its place and is all right in its “proper”
setting. But in the worlds of academia
and work, SE is the norm. They have to
be bi-dialectal!

 

A cultural point: in American
culture, as opposed to some others, children are given names with little or no
thought given to their meanings. And
many people live their lives without associating names of things and terms with
anything descriptive. This means they
re relying too heavily on rote memory.
And they suffer the consequences as characterized by the line in a
popular rap song that says, “My mind’s playing tricks on me.” style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
In academic disciplines, the understanding of
terminology is essential in grasping and internalizing concepts. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Again, this can be very significant in
science and mathematics.

 

American youths are going to
have to compete in the twenty-first century and the coming Information Age with
young people throughout the world. If
they are to do this successfully, then our educators and caregivers are going
to have to do a better job in repairing them to handle these dilemmas of
language that have to do with the difficulty of translating from a community
dialect to Standard English.

Shaping the Brains of Tomorrow

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Shaping the Brains of Tomorrow



style='font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Arial'> href="http://www.prospect.org/web/%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%2\
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text-underline:none'>Shaping the Brains of Tomorrow


What developmental science teaches about the
importance of investing early in children.

style='font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;font-family:Arial;
color:#333333'>By href="http://www.prospect.org/web/%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20/web/page.ww?name=View+Author&section=root&id=1164">Ross
A. Thompson

From “The American Prospect Online,” Nov 1, 2004. style='mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;font-family:Arial;color:#333333'> Issue
Date: 11.02.04

What would happen if the best minds in the country concluded
that investments in early-childhood development are necessary and
cost-effective? That the early years present an opportunity, unequaled later
in life, to enhance inborn potential and avert harm? What if they could
identify the “active ingredients” of healthy psychological development, and
how to enhance these in young children growing up in deprived conditions?
Wouldn’t society become mobilized to do its best for young children?

We are in this situation today, and the arguments for
investing in early-childhood development are scientific, not political. As
the result of several blue-ribbon studies of the forces shaping young
children’s growth, developmental scientists today agree on some basic
conclusions: The early years are important. Early relationships matter. All
children are born ready to learn, both intellectually and socially. Even in
infancy, children are active participants in their own development,
together with the adults who care for them. Early experience can elucidate,
or diminish, inborn potential. The early years are a period of considerable
opportunity for growth and vulnerability to harm.

What we do with this knowledge will shape the lives of the
next generation.

Development in the Early Years style='mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;color:#333333'>

Developmental psychologists and neurobiologists agree that the developing
mind is astonishingly active and self-organizing, creating new knowledge
from everyday experiences. Newborns crave novelty and become bored with
familiarity, so their eyes, ears, and other sensory organs are attuned to
events from which they can learn. A few months later, the infant mentally
clusters objects together that are similar in shape, texture, or density, and
explores gravity and causality as crackers are dropped from the high chair.
A toddler categorizes faces, animals, and birds according to their
properties, and by age 3 or 4, children make logical inferences about new
members of a group, such as appreciating that a dolphin breathes like the
mammal it is rather than the fish it resembles. Just as the developing
brain is expanding its interconnections, the developing mind is making
connections between the new knowledge it discovers and creates.

The remarkable intellectual accomplishments of the early
years extend to language development. Newborns have an innate capacity to
differentiate speech sounds that are used in all the world’s languages,
even those they have never heard and which their parents cannot discriminate.
But later in the first year they lose this ability as they become
perceptually attuned to the language they will learn. By age 3, a child is
forming simple sentences, mastering grammar, and experiencing a “vocabulary
explosion” that will result, by age 6, in a lexicon of more than 10,000
words. Equally important, language will enable the child to put developing
ideas and concepts into words that he or she can share with another, revolutionizing his or her thought by gaining access to the concepts,
ideas, and values of others.

Sensitive caregiving -- not educational toys or Mozart CDs
-- provides the most essential catalysts for these feats of intellectual
growth. People are critical to the development of the mind: Newborns attend
in a special way to human faces and voices, toddlers learn new words based
on their interest in the intentions of adult speakers, and memory develops
through the shared recounting of everyday events. Relationships stimulate
the mind and provide the emotional incentives to new learning as young
children share their discoveries with another. This is why promoting school
readiness is not simply a matter of encouraging literacy and number skills.
It must also ensure the secure, unhurried, focused attention from sensitive
caregivers that contributes to the growth of curiosity, the eagerness to
discover, self-confidence, and cooperation.

Healthy brain development relies on people to provide the
stimulation that organizes connections in the cortex for language and
complex thought. It also relies on people to protect the baby from
overwhelming stress, manage the child’s emotions, and promote security.
This is why strong attachments between infants and their caregivers are as biologically basic as learning to crawl and walk. Throughout evolution,
attachment relationships have ensured human survival by keeping infants
protected and nurtured. By their first birthday, infants have developed
deep attachments to those who care for them. And these attachments, in
turn, provide a foundation for positive relationships with peers and
teachers, healthy self-concept, and emotional and moral understanding.

In the absence of nurturing relationships, things can go
wrong. It isn’t surprising to find that insecure attachments develop more frequently
in homes where parents are stressed or depressed, or in chaotic child-care
settings. Even more disturbing is research demonstrating how early children
show signs of depression, conduct problems, social withdrawal, and anxiety
disorders, and how closely these problems are tied to the quality of the
parent-child relationship. These studies show that relationships with
caregivers who are neglectful, physically abusive, or emotionally troubled
can predispose young children to psychopathology. So the importance of
these earliest relationships is a double-edged sword: Sensitive caregiving
underpins healthy development, while markedly inadequate care renders young
children vulnerable to harm.

Relationships also influence the growth of social and
emotional understanding. Far from being egocentric, young children are
fascinated by what goes on in others’ minds, and social experiences are the
laboratory in which these discoveries emerge. A 2-year-old whose hand
inches closer to the forbidden VCR while carefully watching her parent’s
face, for example, is testing the adult’s expected reaction. And a
3-year-old whose roughhousing has resulted in a crying younger sibling
learns from an adult about the connections between exuberant running and
inadvertent collisions, enhancing his or her emotional understanding and
empathy.

From Mind to Brain -- and Back Again style='mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;color:#333333'>

Whether we are concerned with the growth of the mind or the person, all of
these remarkable early achievements take place in the developing brain.
Brain development begins within the first month after conception, and by
the sixth prenatal month, nearly all of the billions of neurons that
populate the mature brain have been created. This means that the quality of
prenatal care, particularly the mother’s nutrition, health, and exposure to
dangerous viruses and drugs, can have a profound effect on the developing
brain of her fetus. Health, nutrition, and drug exposure continue to
influence brain development after birth.

Both before and after birth, there is an initial “blooming”
of connections between neurons, creating a brain densely packed with many
more neural pathways than it needs. This proliferation is followed by a
period of “pruning” in which little-used connections gradually erode to
reach the number required for optimal efficiency. Experience is the central
determinant of which neural pathways are retained or disappear. The early
experiences that sculpt the developing brain can be stimulating or
neglectful, supportive or traumatic, secure or stressful. Through a “use it
or lose it” principle, those neurons that aren’t activated through
experience progressively wither. Language exposure, for example, helps to
account for the transition from the newborn’s capacity to perceive
universal speech sounds to the 1-year-old’s language-specific speech
perception. Developmental neuroscientists offer similar accounts to explain
the early development of vision, memory ability, early categorization and
thinking skills, and emotional development.

Brain development is an extended process -- not limited to a
narrow “window of opportunity” between zero and three, as conventional
wisdom sometimes suggests. Neural connections in areas of the brain guiding
higher forms of thinking and reasoning grow and atrophy into early adolescence,
for example, and the adult brain even creates new neurons in certain
regions governing memory. Brain architecture continues to be subtly refined
throughout life in ways that reflect the individualized, everyday
experiences of the person. The brain of a musician who plays a stringed
instrument, for example, differs from the brain of a poet who works with
words and abstract ideas because they have exercised different brain
regions throughout life.

Despite these exciting discoveries, neuroscientists are
still at the early stages of understanding how experience refines the
brain. They are concerned with how early deprivation (such as that
experienced by orphans from Romania and the former Soviet Union), abuse,
and trauma influence early brain growth, and whether these effects can be
altered. They are also studying how relational problems, such as the
challenges faced by an infant of a depressed mother, influence brain
development.

Investing in Young Children style='mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;color:#333333'>

These and other conclusions from a landmark study of the National Academy
of Sciences, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, underscore the importance of early experiences
for development throughout life.

What about children, then, who live in deprived or high-risk
conditions? Considerable research shows that many of them will lag
intellectually from infancy and will suffer deficiencies in various facets
of healthy psychological development. Poverty significantly compromises
healthy intellectual and socioemotional development, for example, and
poverty during early childhood is more powerfully predictive of later
achievement than is poverty at any later stage. The reasons include
stressed caregivers, troubled parent-child relationships, dangerous
neighborhoods, and inadequate schools and community supports.

Can early interventions improve the odds of healthy
development for children at risk? The answer offered by the committee of
scientists that wrote From Neurons to Neighborhoods is both
optimistic and challenging. The good news is that there are successful
strategies, especially programs that emphasize child-focused educational
activities and parent-child interaction, and are governed by specific
practices matched to clear goals. But the most effective interventions are
rarely simple, inexpensive, or easy to implement. Changing the rarely simple, inexpensive, or easy to implement. Changing the
developmental trajectory of a young child growing up in deprived
circumstances requires determination, persistence, and patience.

Are such interventions cost-effective? Determining the
cost-effectiveness of programs for at-risk young children requires putting
price tags on the innumerable human consequences of early deprivation. Yet
several studies of comprehensive early-intervention efforts have found that
program costs are more than compensated by averted costs of educational
remediation, juvenile or adult crime, and diminished job earnings.

While expensive, large-scale public efforts have been
skeptically regarded by policy-makers most concerned about their costs,
important new voices are emerging in support of these investments. One is
that of James Heckman, Nobel laureate and University of Chicago economist,
who argues that the varied benefits of early-childhood interventions -- in
cognitive learning, motivation, and socialization -- are likely to have
long-term advantages in the labor market because of the cumulative effects
of early improvements in ability. Another is that of Art Rolnick of the
Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, who (along with colleague Rob
Grunewald) estimates that public investments in programs to assist poor
children yield a 16-percent real rate of return. This, he argues, compares very favorably to other public investments with more popular appeal, such
as building sports coliseums, which typically have little or no return on
public investment. Although much more research is needed, it appears that
society’s investment in improving the chances for young children at risk is
economically worthwhile.

The views of economists like these shift the debate about
public efforts to support healthy early development. And they join the
chorus of scientists whose work has consistently shown how much
early-childhood experiences and relationships matter. It is now reasonable
to ask why public policy lags so significantly behind the science and
economics of early-childhood development.

The public policies that would support healthy
early-childhood development are child-friendly and family-friendly. They
include:

  • child-care
    policies that ensure widespread access to affordable, high-quality child care;

  • welfare-reform
    policies that enable parents to integrate work and family
    responsibilities constructively in children’s interests;

  • prenatal
    and postnatal health care that screens children for developmental
    difficulties before they become severe, guarantees adequate nutrition,
    provides early visual and auditory screening, and protects young
    children from debilitating diseases and hazardous exposure to
    environmental toxins.

In the end, because children are society’s most
valuable asset, they are also a social responsibility and investment.
Because the science of early-childhood development converges with the
economics of public policy to confirm that investments in early-childhood
development are both necessary and worthwhile, it is long past time for
society to catch up.

Ross A. Thompson
is a developmental psychologist at the University of California, Davis and
a member of the National
Scientific Council on the Developing Child
.
style='mso-bidi-font-size:6.5pt;color:#333333'>

Copyright © 2004 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: Ross A. Thompson, "Shaping the Brains of Tomorrow", The American Prospect Online, Nov 1, 2004. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. Direct questions about permissions to permissions@prospect.org.

 

 

The Most Frequently Misspelled English Words





The First 100 Most Commonly Used English Words

The Most Frequently Misspelled English Words






  1. a cappella
  2. absence
  3. accommodation
  4. according
  5. achievement
  6. activities
  7. administrator
  8. advertisement
  9. advice
  10. adviser
  11. advisory
  12. agriculture
  13. all right
  14. a lot
  15. already
  16. among
  17. anesthesia
  18. angel
  19. angle
  20. annual
  21. apparel
  22. appreciate
  23. approximately
  24. architect
  25. article
  26. assembly
  27. athlete
  28. athletic
  29. attendance
  30. auditorium

  1. author
  2. barbecue
  3. battalion
  4. believe
  5. benefit
  6. bookkeeping
  7. boy's
  8. boys'
  9. business
  10. calendar
  11. character
  12. chosen
  13. coming
  14. committee
  15. congratulations
  16. conscience
  17. conscious
  18. convenient
  19. counselor
  20. curriculum
  21. develop
  22. disappoint
  23. distinguished
  24. duchess
  25. editorial
  26. eighth
  27. eligible
  28. embarrassing
  29. emphasize
  30. emphatic

  1. ensemble
  2. environment
  3. experience
  4. faculty
  5. familiar
  6. February
  7. finally
  8. foreign
  9. formally
  10. formerly
  11. fourth
  12. friend
  13. government
  14. grammar
  15. gymnasium
  16. illustration
  17. independent
  18. initiated
  19. interest
  20. intramural
  21. judgment
  22. laboratory
  23. led
  24. library
  25. license
  26. literature
  27. misspelled
  28. necessary
  29. nickel
  30. occurrence

  1. opinion
  2. organization
  3. pantomime
  4. pastime
  5. privilege
  6. probably
  7. questionnaire
  8. receive
  9. recommend
  10. renaissance
  11. restaurant
  12. rhythm
  13. schedule
  14. separate
  15. sergeant
  16. similar
  17. sophomore
  18. sponsor
  19. studying
  20. sufficient
  21. superintendent
  22. surprised
  23. thought
  24. treasurer
  25. truly
  26. until
  27. Wednesday
  28. weird
  29. writer
  30. writing