What's in a Word? Increasing Acquisition of Word Knowledge through Effective Vocabulary Instruction


  • Loleta D. Sartin Macon State College
  • Rosalyn L. Magee Spanish Lake Primary




word knowledge, vocabulary instruction, decoding, comprehension


Johnny (a pseudonym) was able to decode the words in the poem, "Democracy." When asked to summarize the poem, Johnny responded, "I don't know what it was about." This is a common scenario in classrooms. Students are able to identify words automatically but are unable to discuss the meaning of the words. Decoding is a component of the reading process, but in order to become a reader, one must be able to both decode and understand the words on the page as defined by the National Reading Panel, are the words we must know to communicate effectively (LINCS, 2010). are four types of vocabulary: listening (words we can hear and understand), speaking (words we use when we speak), reading (words we can identify and understand when we read) and writing (the words we use in writing; Reutzel & Cooter, 2009). As a student's vocabulary increases, the better reader he will become. There is a positive correlation between a person's vocabulary attainment and fluency, comprehension, and oral and written communication skills.

Author Biographies

  • Loleta D. Sartin, Macon State College

    Loleta D. Sartin is an assistant professor in the Macon State and College School of Education where she teaches literacy courses, integrated curriculum and education foundation courses. Sartin currently serves at the Chair of the Scholarship Committee for the Georgia Reading Association. Prior to joining the Macon State faculty in 2005 she was the Director of the Developmental School Program at Drury University and a teacher in New Orleans Public Schools. She is nearing completion of a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University. Her degrees include a master's degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in gifted education from Drury University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with 1st - 8th grade certification from Southern University at New Orleans.

  • Rosalyn L. Magee, Spanish Lake Primary

    Rosalyn L. Magee is a third grade English Language Arts teacher and Academy Leader at Spanish Lake Primary in Geismar, LA. Magee has been an educator for twenty years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with 1st-8th grade certification from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. She graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a master's degree in Educational Leadership. 

What's in a Word?






Research and Practitioner Articles

How to Cite

Sartin, L. D., & Magee, R. L. (2010). What’s in a Word? Increasing Acquisition of Word Knowledge through Effective Vocabulary Instruction. Georgia Journal of Literacy, 33(2), 29-32. https://doi.org/10.56887/galiteracy.78

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