The Importance of Vocabulary Instruction

According to research, vocabulary development and knowledge has a direct relationship to background knowledge and high-level comprehension and processing. It is estimated that students must learn more than 88,ooo words by 9th grade to successfully read the textbooks that they are asked to read in high school. Identification of the printed word begins with a visual process that concentrates on teh visual forms of the letters that make up the word. After the initial identification of the word is made, it is the context of the sentence that may determine word meaning and the pronounciation of the word.

Vocabulary knowledge has a direct relationship to background knowldge and high-level comprehension and processing (Nagy & Scott, 2000). The ability to infer or retain new words is strongly dependent on the individual's background knowledge of other words and concepts in the content area. In other words, learning vocabulary words has a strong impact on students' comprehension of what they are reading. As a result, educators must help students build strong background links to new words and their meanings. For more on this, see the PowerPoint below. This ppt includes sample activites, some mine and some borrowed from friends and colleagues (Teachers are the best theives! Thanks friends!), and some sample student work.

Below are some other resources to help you and your students with vocabulary instruction:

Teaching Vocabulary in the Content Areas

The Importance of Non-linguistic Representations

A MUST read created by my friend Angela Stockman and based on the work of Bea McGarvey