Today while reading Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop's wonderful picture book "Mr Whistler" (it just won the NZ Picture Book of the Year last night!) , we came across a handkerchief . None do the 5-9 year old kids in two classes knew what a handkerchief was.
I just asked my own 9 year old - "it's a piece of wool which you blow your nose on." (this kid DOES know what wool and fabric / material is due to his mother's hoarding of both of them...)
Then at soccer practice last week the coach yelled at my son and his team mates (12 year olds) to stop acting like a bunch of wet blouses - many of these boys had no idea what a blouse was.
Times are changing and our language too! Dictionaries are fascinating things to read just by themselves to me.
Talk and read to your children a many kids are turning up to school with 2000 words less than 5 years ago - not just Maori and Pasifika kids either.
Best thing is if you do not have time to read, buy your child a cd player and investing talking books (CDs) from the Book Depository and turn those on at night!