Depending on the point you wish to make, some argue that the vocabulary gap between affluent children and children of poverty is huge. Diane Ravitch in a tweet on December 31, 2010 said "Read Ristley and Hart studies of vocabulary gap between children of affluent and of poverty. Gap is there in first year of school."
This of course refers to the so called 30 Million word gap.
I am posting this link to establish a baseline as to just how many words are estimated to be in the entire English language. Looks like they came up with just over 1 million. And, that most folks know some 75,000 words and only actively use about 50,000.
There is no consensus as to how many words a child should know when starting school. You can do your own research to confirm this statement, if you wish.
My concern is that Ristley/Hart in the tweet above is more of the poor kids vs. teacher expectation debate.
While I am squarely in the "poverty is not an excuse or destiny" camp when it comes to learning, I believe it works both ways. That is, poverty is not an excuse for the child nor the teacher. Both have a responsibility in the education equation.
The child is there to put forth an effort to learn and the teacher is there to adopt strategies that meet students where they are developmentally. Both are accountable.
Click on the link below to read the article.
The way we speak now - Science, News - The Independent