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40,000,000 words…

Students: Listen up. Your ability to grow, think, move toward adulthood, enjoy your lives, etc. depends largely on your ability to talk, read, and write. When you were little, you didn’t know how important it was to talk, listen to language, etc. If you feel like you didn’t get the experiences you probably should have when you were little, it’s not too late. It’s never too late.


Research now tells us that kids who are on the high development track have heard 40 million words by 4. Kids who are doomed to the basement of life have heard only 10 million. Kids at the high end have had conversations with their parents. Kids on the low achievement track have received orders.

I don’t believe anyone is “doomed to the basement.” No. Way. No. How. But I do know some of you have to make up for some lost time.

So…when we are having classroom discussions, when we are talking for purposes, such as gaining understanding of new ideas, listening to others’ stories and opinions, and writing for understanding, use that time wisely. Help me help you to get to 40 million words, and more.

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Roald Dahl was inspired by a chocolate factory….

See Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday




of Roald Dahl, (books by this author) born in Llandaff, South Wales (1916). He was sent off to private boarding schools as a kid, which he hated except for the chocolates, Cadbury chocolates. The Cadbury chocolate company had chosen his school as a focus group for new candies they were developing. Every so often, a plain gray cardboard box was issued to each child, filled with 11 chocolate bars. It was the children’s task to rate the candy, and Dahl took his job very seriously. About one of the sample candy bars, he wrote, “Too subtle for the common palate.” He later said that the experience got him thinking about candy as something manufactured in a factory, and he spent a lot of time imagining what a candy factory might be like. Today, he’s best known for his children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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