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