MIT-Funded Study Confirms Big Word Club’s Vocabulary Program is Effective, Low-cost and Requires No Teacher Training

DENVER, October 11, 2018—Over the last 18 months, Big Word Club has been the focus of an MIT-funded evaluation implemented by the University of Chicago and University of Toronto to measure the impact of Big Word Club on the vocabularies of preschool and kindergarten students. The results have been nothing short of amazing. It seems we have accomplished something with Big Word that is nearly impossible in education, that is, to create an effective (and now evidence-based) intervention that is both low-cost and requires no teacher training.

 “Big Word Club is a low-cost and relatively low intensity intervention that requires no teacher training. This suggests that Big Word Club may be a cost-effective program to increase vocabulary, especially when used regularly.”—“An Evaluation of the Big Word Club Vocabulary Program” by Susan E. Mayer and Ariel Kalil, University of Chicago and Philip Oreopolous, University of Toronto

The goal of Big Word Club is to improve the vocabularies of every kid on the planet because, as E.D. Hirsch, Jr. so eloquently writes, “Simply put; knowing more words makes you smarter.”

But according to Hirsch, “Between 1962 and the present, a big segment of the American population began knowing fewer words, getting less smart, and becoming demonstrably less able to earn a high income.”

According to a landmark study by Hart and Risley in 1995, children’s vocabulary skills are linked to their economic backgrounds. According to Hart and Risley, children from lower socioeconomic homes may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than children from higher socioeconomic homes by the time they are three years old. Though this study has received recent criticism, the fact remains; vocabulary is the foundation of comprehension and the vocabularies of kids from different socioeconomic groups vary greatly.

“Whatever the cause, the fact remains that millions of three, four and five year-old kids start preschool and kindergarten every year knowing hundreds of fewer words than their classmates,” said Big Word Club founder and CEO Shane DeRolf. “Because kids who start behind tend to stay behind, we wanted to create something that both parents and teachers could easily use that would improve their children’s and student’s vocabularies in fast, fun and effective ways. This is exactly what Big Word Club does.”

“By improving a child’s vocabulary, we improve his or her chances for a successful and happy life,” said DeRolf. “And that, to us, is a job worth doing.”


Big Word Club is an award-winning multimodal vocabulary intervention that uses books, songs, animation and dance to introduce preschool and elementary school children to a new “BIG” word every day of the school year. To learn more about Big Word Club, visit or call Robert Sanders at 303-550-7700.

Shane DeRolf is a children’s book author and 11-time Emmy award-winning writer and producer of children’s educational television. His books have sold over two million copies worldwide and his animated music videos have received over 75 million views on YouTube.