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Vocabulary Research Helps Pave the Way to Literacy

Vocabulary is a major stumbling block for many adolescents with learning disabilities who are trying to learn to read, but a UNC Charlotte researcher is developing ways to make it easier for these students to learn and retain key words.

Kristen Beach, an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Child Development, and a colleague from the University of California, Riverdale, received a grant of nearly $1.5 million from the Institute of Education Sciences to fund a new study. It’s called "Vocabulary CHAAOS: Creating Habits that Accelerate Academic Language of Students," and it explores an area of the utmost importance for young readers.

"Knowing the meanings of words is critical for developing clear and accurate understanding of text," said Beach. "Providing instruction in academic vocabulary words that appear across subject areas with high frequency is imperative for struggling readers and students with disabilities to have a chance of independently reading and understanding grade-level or near grade-level text."

Program Provides Free Health Screenings for Seniors

Hundreds of Charlotte seniors will receive detailed screenings and critical health interventions through the Department of Kinesiology’s Health Risk Assessment Lab as part of a new program funded by the Sharon Towers Continuing Care Retirement Community.

A donation of more than $150,000 from Sharon Towers will pay for four graduate assistants and equipment for health risk assessments in Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation senior and multigenerational centers. The new assistants will join two already working in senior centers across the county.

"An exciting aspect of the free program is that it includes at-risk populations in greater Charlotte who may not otherwise have immediate access to such services," said Scott Gordon, chair of the UNC Charlotte Department of Kinesiology. "Our goal is to provide individualized feedback and education to all participants concerning their health risk numbers, and then reduce their risk through an exercise program or referral to their physicians when necessary."