Vocabulary is one of the five pillars of reading comprehension as set forth in No Child Left Behind legislation. Reading comprehension depends upon the meaning readers give words. The more vocabulary words students know, the better they are able to comprehend. A large vocabulary opens students up to a wider range of reading materials. A rich vocabulary also improves students’ ability to communicate through speaking, listening, and writing.
Researchers have stated that vocabulary deficiencies are a primary cause of academic failure in grades 3 through 12 (Baumann & Kameenui, 1991; Stanovich, 1986; Becker, 1977). These researchers profess that direct and explicit instruction of a set number of vocabulary words will improve academic success in all content areas. Stahl and Fairbanks (1986) suggest that teaching students 350 words each year may improve learning by as much as 10 to 30%. Further, in 1982, Beck, Perfetti, and McKeown found that students who were given direct instruction in word meanings were better able to discern the meanings of untaught words than control subjects.
Though no particular method for teaching vocabulary has been identified as best (Beck & McKeown, 1991), a number of instructional strategies such as identifying synonyms and antonyms, providing examples and nonexamples, and relating words to one’s own life, have yielded growth in students’ vocabulary. For these reasons, Reading A-Z provides a number of different resources for teachers to use to enrich their students’ vocabulary.
Reading A-Z Vocabulary ResourcesVocabulary Books
Vocabulary books are specially designed for English Language Learners of all ages. Each book uses strictly controlled text that reinforces high-frequency words and identifies all vocabulary terms with clearly labeled photos. The books cover familiar topics that help build key everyday vocabulary of everyday usage for English Language Learners and other students with limited oral and reading vocabulary.
Vocabulary Book List
For many students, a visual tool is a valuable resource for anchoring vocabulary instruction. Placing a new word such as the name of an animal in the center of a concept web and identifying types or traits of the animal in the areas connected to the center of the web gives students a mental image of the word’s meaning. Reading A-Z offers many graphic organizers that are appropriate tools in vocabulary instruction.
List of Graphic Organizers
Word Sorts can be used with K-5 students to help fine-tune their higher-level thinking skills by allowing them to categorize information. Students may cut out and sort the words according to the categories provided at the top of each sheet, or they may choose to create their own categories. There are more than 60 word sorts in all, covering letters, sounds, content area topics, such as science and grammar, and there are even open sorts that can be categorized several ways.
List of Word Sorts
High-Frequency Word Books
High-frequency words are the most commonly used words in printed English. Since these words are essential to fluent reading, and since many are not decodable, repeated exposure and memorization are crucial. Reading A-Z's High-Frequency Word Books are designed to introduce these words in an easy-to-read and enjoyable format. The book sets introduce the most common and most essential words in the early sets, then reinforce those words in subsequent sets. Repeated use of these fun and simple books will lead to greater fluency, reading rate, and reader confidence.
Reading A-Z also has a High-Frequency Word Books Strategy Bank--teaching tools for the books--as well as bingo cards and flashcards to accompany the high-frequency word books. These materials are available in Spanish and French, too.
In an additional collection of High-Frequency Flashcards, nine sets of flashcards feature the 220 most commonly used words (downloadable in groups of 24) in order of frequency.