Reading specialists often refer to four types of vocabularylistening, speaking, reading, and writing. Oral vocabulary, which includes listening and speaking, is important to understanding both spoken and printed words. Readers connect, or "map," written words with their known oral vocabulary as they read. If a reader has a limited oral vocabulary, he or she will have difficulty making meaning from words, even if he or she is able to sound them out. If a reader reads the sentence The dog is in her abode, and the word abode is familiar, then the sentence makes sense. On the other hand, if a reader is unfamiliar with the word abode, the text will not make sense.
Reading and writing vocabulary consists of the words students see or can place in print. The reading and writing vocabulary for many beginning readers, especially second language learners, is limited.
Findings and Recommendations
The easiest way to increase vocabulary is through exposure to new words through frequent reading, writing, and speaking. Students will pick up many words indirectly through independent reading. However, teaching specific words before reading a text helps both vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. Having dictionary and glossary resources for explicit instruction of vocabulary also makes instruction more effective.
Teachers can help students foster an awareness of and interest in new words through engaging word activities, interesting word facts, and word play.
Vocabulary is key to getting meaning from printed language. Beginning readers and second language learners with weak oral vocabularies will have difficulty comprehending text.
- Although a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some vocabulary should be taught directly. Students need opportunities to use word-learning strategies to get at the meaning of unknown words. (Armbruster and Osborne, 2002)
- Vocabulary growth has not been adequately addressed in early years of a child’s education, and more direct teaching strategies are needed. (Chall 1983/1996; Chall, Snow et al., 1982)
- Vocabulary work should focus on root (base) words instead of inflected endings and the derivation of words. (Lorge and Chall; Beck and McKeown, 1990)
- Anywhere from 600 to 1,200 root (base) words are acquired per year during the elementary years, and researchers suggest the numbers need to be much higher. (Anglin, 1993; Biemiller and Slonim, 2001).
- Research indicates that children, particularly those under 10 years of age, do not acquire vocabulary through inference. There is also evidence that children profit less from simply being read to as opposed to being provided with some explanation when unfamiliar words are encountered during the reading. (Beck, Perfitti, and McKeown, 1982; Elley, 1989; Feitelson et al., 1991; Whitehurst et al., 1998)
Reading A-Z Alignment with Research
Reading A-Z makes a vast collection of books from many genres readily accessible to teachers and students. The books are written at graduated levels of difficulty so that students can be matched to books that are suitable for independent reading. Extensive independent reading helps build a student\'s vocabulary and therefore promotes comprehension.
Reading A-Z’s Leveled Books introduce glossaries and bold-faced vocabulary terms beginning at the second-grade levels. Both fiction and nonfiction books include words that expand a student’s vocabulary. These words are bold-faced to draw the reader’s attention and signal that they are included in the glossary.
Reading A-Z provides direct vocabulary instructional strategies for each Leveled Book lesson. Vocabulary terms are listed at the front of each lesson for introduction, pre-teaching, and discussion before a book is read.
Each Leveled Book lesson also includes vocabulary strategies for teaching prefixes, suffixes, multiple meaning words, synonyms and antonyms, figurative language, and more. Each Leveled Book is accompanied by at least one vocabulary worksheet. These worksheets allow students to work with words using crossword puzzles, anagrams, and other exercises. They also provide word-building activities with prefixes, suffixes, base words, synonyms, antonyms, and other language elements.
Comprehension quizzes for each Leveled Book include word-meaning items to check a reader’s grasp of the book’s vocabulary. Vocabulary flashcards promote engaging vocabulary-building activities. Generic graphic organizers for vocabulary instruction are available for downloading.
High-frequency words are taught explicitly and directly, and are used in running text in High-Frequency Word books and Leveled Books beginning at the kindergarten levels.
Reading A-Z Resources
Click on all images for a larger preview.
|High-Frequency Word Books||High-Frequency Word Flashcards|
|Too Little, Too Big||Too Little, Too Big|