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The First 4,000 Words Vocabulary Building Program Selected by Minnetonka Elementary School for 1st-4th Grade Students

The First 4,000 Words is a web-based program that teaches the most frequently used English words. Minnewashta Elementary School in Minnetonka, MN, has adopted the program to help support their educational goals by building student vocabularies.

Minneapolis, MN, December 05, 2009 --( Minnewashta Elementary School, in the Minnetonka, Minnesota Public Schools system, has selected The First 4,000 Words vocabulary building program for its 370 1st-4th grade students, with an additional rollout planned for kindergartners and 5th graders. Minnewashta students will engage in 355 interactive and individualized web-based lessons that teach the 4,000 most frequently used English words. This research-based and field-tested program helps students develop the necessary reading skills to succeed in school. By enabling students to build their listening and reading vocabularies, the program also supports Minnewashta Elementary's literacy goal of each student progressing at least one year in their reading level.

According to Cindy Andress, Principal of Minnewashta Elementary School, one of their biggest challenges in teaching vocabulary is knowing which words will most efficiently build students' vocabularies. "We are hoping that The First 4,000 Words program will help us to differentiate vocabulary development in a way that engages students independently while their teachers are working with small groups of students in guided reading groups," says Andress. About their decision to use an online learning program, Andress says, "We have the technology at our fingertips to use an online tool. The First 4,000 Words program will be engaging for students and easy for the staff to set up and use in a way that will make a difference in the life of our students."

In field tests, students using The First 4,000 Words program have shown vocabulary gains regardless of grade-level or gender. Students also found the program to be appealing, easy to use, and fun. Teachers also reported that the program was engaging and easy to use.

Seward Inc. developed The First 4,000 Words program with noted reading expert Dr. Michael Graves, Professor Emeritus of Literacy Education at the University of Minnesota. His research interests and areas of expertise include vocabulary development, comprehension instruction, and strategy instruction. Additionally, the words in the program were selected from the most frequent words in The Educator's Word Frequency Guide (Zeno et al. 1995) and the 4,000 word families of Hiebert's Word Zones™ corpus.

Please visit The First 4,000 Words web site for more information:

About The First 4,000 Words
The First 4,000 Words is an interactive web-based program used to teach the 4,000 most frequently used English words to English Language Learners and struggling readers in grades 1 through 4. Students access their lessons through an engaging world of words called the Vocabitat. Animated woodland characters guide the students through the lessons, which use game-like scenarios and speech recognition technology to teach, reinforce, and assess vocabulary listening, reading, and pronunciation—all vital to a reader’s success. Lessons are available from any Internet-connected computer with little teacher time required beyond initial student setup. Students complete each lesson independently. We currently are giving away 100 licenses for the program. For more information about the contest, please visit

About Seward Incorporated
Seward Incorporated is a leader in education technology solutions for corporate, academic, and government clients. Founded in 1990, Seward Inc. works nationally and internationally, developing custom eLearning solutions, consulting on building education systems, and training educators in the use of online tools. For more information, call 612-721-4444 or visit or

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Seward Incorporated
Vicky Frank

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