Teaching and Developing Vocabulary - Education Place ? Young children naturally learn to communicate ... words make up about 50% of most English texts; ... Teaching and Developing Vocabulary

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Teaching and Developing Vocabulary:Key to Long-Term Reading SuccessJOHN J. PIKULSKI AND SHANE TEMPLETONThe Central Importance ofVocabularyIt seems almost impossible to overstate the power ofwords; they literally have changed and willcontinue to change the course of world history.Perhaps the greatest tools we can give students forsucceeding, not only in their education but moregenerally in life, is a large, rich vocabulary and theskills for using those words. Our ability to functionin todays complex social and economic worlds ismightily affected by our language skills and wordknowledge.In addition to the vital importance of vocabularyfor success in life, a large vocabulary is morespecifically predictive and reflective of high levels ofreading achievement. The Report of the NationalReading Panel (2000), for example, concluded, Theimportance of vocabulary knowledge has long beenrecognized in the development of reading skills. Asearly as 1924, researchers noted that growth inreading power relies on continuous growth in wordknowledge (pp. 415).Vocabulary or Vocabularies?In everyday conversation we speak of vocabulary inthe singular; we speak of a persons vocabulary.This is actually an oversimplification. The AmericanHeritage Dictionary defines vocabulary as the sumof words used by, understood by, or at thecommand of a particular person or group. In thispaper we are concerned with extending the sum ofwords that are used by and understood by students. However, it seems important to point out that inalmost all cases there are some differences in thenumber of words that an individual understandsand uses. Even the terms uses and understandsneed clarification. For example, the major way inwhich we use vocabulary is when we speak andwrite; the term expressive vocabulary is used to referto both since these are the vocabularies we use toexpress ourselves. We understand vocabularywhen we listen to speech and when we read; theterm receptive vocabulary is used to refer to listeningand reading vocabularies. Finally, to round out theterminology, meaning or oral vocabulary refers to thecombination of listening and speaking vocabularies,and literate vocabulary refers to the combination ofour reading and writing vocabularies. Are ourlistening, speaking, reading, and writingvocabularies all the same? Are they equally large?Is our meaning vocabulary larger or smaller thanC u r r e n t R e s e a r c hIN READING / LANGUAGE ARTSWords, so innocent and powerless as they are, standing in a dictionary; how potent for good and evil theybecome in the hands of one who knows how to choose and combine them. Nathaniel Hawthorne2meaning vocabularies. We tend to have a largergroup of words that we use in reading and writingthan we use in our own speech. This is becausewritten language is more formal, more complex,and more sophisticated than spoken language.Reading Vocabulary Young children naturally learn to communicatethrough listening and speaking. In order to makethe transition to communicating through readingand writing, they need a large meaning vocabularyand effective decoding skills. There is anabundance of research evidence to show that aneffective decoding strategy allows students not onlyto identify printed words accurately but to do sorapidly and automatically (Pikulski and Chard,2003). Given the focus of this paper, we will notattempt to review the rather complex topic ofdeveloping fluency. However, we do feel it isimportant to briefly address one aspect of decodingthat is crucial for beginning readers: high-frequencyvocabulary.our literate vocabularies? Figure 1 shows therelationship of the eight different terms.For the first five years or so of their lives,children are involved in the process of acquiring ameaning/oral vocabularywords that theyunderstand when they hear them and that they canuse in their speech. During this period, childrenhave essentially no literate vocabularies. Mostchildren acquire reading and writing skills uponentering school. They need to acquire a basicknowledge of how printed letters relate to thesounds of spoken words and how printed wordsrelate to spoken words. Being able to translate ortranscode print into speech allows children to usewhat they know about meaning/oral vocabulary fortheir literate vocabulary. So for very youngchildren, their meaning vocabularies are muchlarger than their literate vocabularies. The acquisition of decoding skills leads to rapidexpansion of literate vocabularies by allowingchildren to transcode their meaning vocabulariesinto their literate vocabularies. This is so much thecase that for older students and for adults ourliterate vocabularies are probably larger than ourVocabulariesReading WritingExpressiveVocabularyLiterate/WrittenVocabularyReceptiveVocabularySpeakingListeningFigure 1Meaning/OralVocabulary3potential for fostering improvement in another.Therefore, one responsibility of teachers is to helpchildren transfer vocabulary skills from one form toanother. The Need to ImproveVocabulary InstructionWhile the dependence of both general achievementand reading achievement on vocabulary growth hasbeen clearly established for decades, those findingsdo not appear to have been put into practice. In arecent text, Beck et al. (2002) draw the research-based conclusion: All the available evidenceindicates that there is little emphasis on theacquisition of vocabulary in school curricula. In aclassic classroom observational study, Durkin (1979)found that in the 4,469 minutes of readinginstruction that were observed, a mere nineteenminutes were devoted to vocabulary instruction andthat virtually no vocabulary developmentinstruction took place during content instructionsuch as social studies. The effects of the lack of attention to vocabularyinstruction, however, may not manifest themselvesin the earliest grades where tests of readingachievement tend to contain passages that havesimple content and common vocabulary. Whilemost students who succeed in reading in the earlygrades continue to achieve well, some do not. TheReport of the Rand Reading Study Group (2002)concluded, Research has shown that many childrenwho read at the third grade level in grade 3 will notautomatically become proficient comprehenders inlater grades.Indeed, a commonly reported phenomenon inreading test results is for achievement to be goodthrough second or third grade and to falterthereafter. This drop off in achievement seems verylikely due to weaknesses in language developmentand background knowledge, which are increasinglyrequired for reading comprehension beyond theearly grades and for reading informational andcontent-area texts.The most recently released study of internationalreading achievement provides some strong evidencethat the weakness in U.S. student performance isnot the result of decoding problems or inability tocomprehend narrative texts. Instead, it seems to bedue to weakness in ability to comprehendHigh-frequency vocabulary refers to those wordsthat are used over and over again in ourcommunicationsthey are important to both ourmeaning and literate vocabularies. A mere 100words make up about 50% of most English texts;200 words make up 90% of the running words ofmaterials through third grade; and 500 words makeup 90% of the running words in materials throughninth grade. If a reader is to have at least amodicum of fluency, it is critical that these words betaught systematically and effectively. The research of Ehri (1994, 1998) is particularlyinformative. Her research strongly suggests thathigh-frequency words should be introduced withoutwritten context so that students focus on their visualcomposition, that they should be practiced inmaterials that are at an appropriate level of challenge,and that they should be practiced several times inorder to allow developing readers to recognize theminstantly or, in other words, at sight. She also makesthe important point that although many of thesewords do not conform completely to phonicgeneralizations or expectations (e.g. was), theynonetheless very frequently do have elements thatare regular. For example, the w in was is regular andthe s at the end of that word sometimes does have the/z/ sound. Ehris research strongly suggests thatthese phonic regularities are powerful mnemonics forremembering the words and should be pointed out,rather than expecting that students will rememberthe vague shape of the word, as was the traditionwith flash-card instruction for many years.The High But Less Than PerfectRelationship Among the VocabulariesThere is no question that people who have largespeaking vocabularies generally tend to have largelistening, reading, and writing vocabularies; like-wise people who are limited in one of these aspectsare likely limited in other aspects as well. We haveseen that this close relationship does not exist in pre-literate children. Also, some children who developlarge reading vocabularies may not use that vocabu-lary in their writing without teacher help and guid-ance. However, in the years during which childrendevelop as readers and writers, there is an increas-ingly high relationship among all four aspects ofvocabularylistening, speaking, reading, and writ-ing. Fostering improvement in one aspect has theconcluded that although these children wereexposed to much oral language stimulation inschool, it was too incidental and insufficiently directand intense to have a major impact. A Comprehensive Approach toTeaching and DevelopingVocabularyThe amount of vocabulary that children need toacquire each year is staggering in scope, estimatedto be about 3,000 words a year. Therefore, acomprehensive approach consisting of the followingcomponents needs to be in place. Use instructional read-aloud events. Provide direct instruction in the meanings ofclusters of words and individual words. Systematically teach students the meaning ofprefixes, suffixes, and root words. Link spelling instruction to reading andvocabulary instruction. Teach the effective, efficient, realistic use ofdictionaries, thesauruses, and other referenceworks. Teach, model, and encourage the application ofa word-learning strategy. Encourage wide reading. Create a keen awareness of and a deep interestin language and words.Use Instructional Read-Aloud EventsThe recommendation that parents and teachers readaloud to children is among the most popular recom-mendations in the field of reading. The prestigiousresearch-based report Becoming a Nation of Readers(Anderson et al. 1985) concluded, The single mostimportant activity for building the knowledgerequired for eventual success in reading is readingaloud to children. One very obvious way in whichreading aloud to children can be expected to be ben-eficial is to increase their language and vocabularyskills. Indeed there is research to support this posi-tion (Elley, 1989; Leong and Pikulski, 1990; Robbinsand Ehri, 1994). 4informational texts (Progress in International ReadingLiteracy Study, 2003). When compared to studentsfrom the 35 participating nations, United Statesfourth graders ranked fourth on the narrativesection of the test but thirteenth on theinformational section. This disparity of ninerankings was by far the largest among the nationsparticipating in the study.Vocabulary and LanguageDevelopment: The ImportantPreschool Years Scarborough (2001) reviews very convincingevidence that children who enter kindergarten withweak language skills are likely to encounterdifficulty in learning to read. Hart and Risley (1995)conducted a careful, intensive study of earlylanguage development and found huge differencesthat reflected parents socioeconomic status.Extraordinary variation was found in the amount oftalk that took place between parents and childrenfrom family to family. At the extremes, the childrenfrom high socioeconomic status had 16 times morelanguage stimulation than children from lowerstatus families. These differences in languageexperiences directly influenced childrens languagegrowth. Children from parents of professionals hada cumulative vocabulary of about 1,100 words,those from working class families had about 650words, and those from welfare families had justover 400 words. These differences systematicallywidened between the onset of speech and threeyears of age when the vocabulary measures weretaken. More recently Farcus (2001) presented similarresearch data. He found that once children whowere falling behind in language growth enteredkindergarten, with its greater language stimulation,the language gap no longer widened. Nevertheless,although the gap didnt widen, neither did itnarrow.Research reviews such as that by Barnett (2001)suggest that it is possible for children who are behindin early language development to overcome theselimitations. However, reviews such as that by Becket al. (2002) and Juel et al. (2003) clearly show thatnot enough is being done in our school programs tohelp children who enter school with weak languageand vocabulary development to catch up. Juel et al.5jargon of a field. Examples of Level III wordsfrom the field of reading instruction include theterms digraph, diphthong, schwa, metacomprehension,etc. As one might expect, some words such ascalculation might be classified as either a Level IIor Level III word or both. Level IV Words These are words that areinteresting but so rare and esoteric that they areprobably not useful even in most educationalenvironments, and they are not associated with afield of study or profession. Examples are wordsthat were but no longer are used: majuscule (acapital letter), xanthodont (one who has yellowteeth like a rodent), noctuary (an account of whathappens in a night). Notice, however, that someLevel IV words are useful for teachingmorphological clues such as noct meaningnight and dont or dent referring to teeth. LevelIV words are also helpful for creating an interestin words and language.Just by their definitions, it should be apparentthat a major responsibility of teachers is to expandthe Level II and Level III words of their students.Teachers of content areas have a specialresponsibility for teaching Level III words.Purposes For Teaching Vocabulary One reasonteachers are concerned about teaching vocabulary isto facilitate the comprehension of a text thatstudents will be assigned to read. If students do notknow the meaning of many of the words that theywill encounter in a text, their comprehension of thatselection is likely to be compromised. When thepurpose of vocabulary instruction is to facilitate thecomprehension of a selection, it is obvious that thisinstruction must take place as an introductionbefore the reading of the selection. As a rule, new words in narrative selections arenot as critical to the overall understanding of theselection as are new words in informationalselections. Before guiding students reading of aparticular narrative, teachers should determine ifthere are any new words that represent conceptsthat are critical to understanding the selection andwhich are not adequately defined in context. Ifthere are, then these words should be presented anddiscussed before the students read. While anarrow or superficial treatment often is sufficientfor these, on other occasions it is necessary todevelop deep understandings.The study by Elley (1989) strongly suggested thatvocabulary growth was much greater when teachersdiscussed, even if briefly, the meanings of the wordsin addition to just reading the books aloud. Therecent study by Juel et al. (2003) showed that whileteachers in kindergarten and first grade spentconsiderable time reading and discussing books tochildren with below average vocabularies, theseactivities had minimal impact on the progress of thechildren. Only when teachers spent focused time onthe vocabulary did significant growth occur. Weapply the term instructional read aloud to read-aloud events where, in addition to reading aloud tostimulate an interest in books and reading, there isalso a deliberate teaching of skills that will promoteindependence in reading, such as an increasedvocabulary.Provide Direct Instruction in theMeanings of Words Which words should be taught? In deciding whichwords to teach we have found it helpful to thinkabout levels of vocabulary, which is similar towhat Beck et al. (2002) refer to as tiers ofvocabulary.Level I Words These are words that are usedover and over in everyday speech. Since they areso frequently used in a variety of contexts,virtually all children learn them. Some examplesof these words would be house, girl, cat, up,umbrella, etc. Level I words are sometimesreferred to as conversational speech. Childrenwho are learning English as a second languagewill sometimes make progress with this level ofvocabulary but have difficulty making progresswith words at levels beyond this one.Level II Words These are words that are likely tobe learned only through reading or throughinstruction. They have been referred to as thevocabulary of educated persons, as academicvocabulary, and as instructional vocabulary.They are words that are necessary for generalsuccess in school. Words such as perspective,generate, initiate, intermediate, calculation, etc. arepossible examples.Level III Words These are words associated witha particular field of study or profession. Thesewords make up the technical vocabulary orSystematically Teach the Meaning ofPrefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words The majority of English words have been createdthrough the combination of morphemic elements,that is, prefixes and suffixes with base words andword roots. If learners understand how thiscombinatorial process works, they possess one ofthe most powerful understandings necessary forvocabulary growth (Anderson and Freebody, 1981).This understanding of how meaningful elementscombine is defined as morphological knowledgebecause it is based on an understanding ofmorphemes, the smallest units of meaning in alanguage. In the intermediate grades and beyond,most new words that students encounter in theirreading are morphological derivatives of familiarwords (Aronoff, 1994). In recent years research hassuggested some promising guidelines for teachingthe meanings of prefixes, suffixes, and word roots aswell as for the ways in which knowledge of thesemeaningful word parts may be applied (Templeton,2004). Word roots such as dict, spect, and struct aremeaningful parts of words that remain after allprefixes and suffixes have been removed but thatusually do not stand by themselves as words:prediction, inspection, contract. In the primary grades students begin to explorethe effects of prefixes such as un-, re-, and dis- onbase words. In the intermediate grades studentscontinue to explore prefixes and an increasingnumber of suffixes and their effects on base words:govern (verb) + -ment = government (noun).Common Greek and Latin roots begin to beexplored, along with the effects of prefixes andsuffixes that attach to them (Templeton, 1989).These include, for example, chron (time, as inchronology), tele (distant, far as in television), andfract (break, as in fracture). A large proportion ofthe vocabulary of specific content areas is built onGreek and Latin elements. As this morphologicalknowledge develops, teachers can model how itmay be applied to determining the meanings ofunfamiliar words encountered in print.6Informational selections usually carry a higherload of new words than narratives, and themeanings of these new words are quite oftenimportant for understanding the selection. Someauthors of informational texts make it a point to useartificially enhanced contexts to facilitate wordlearning. If new words are defined appropriately inthe selection, they may not need to be discussedbeforehand. However, it is important to keep inmind the research finding that in naturallyoccurring contexts, it is more difficult to usecontexts for word meanings in informational textsas compared to narrative texts. Thus new wordsthat are critical to an understanding of the majortopic or theme should be introduced and discussedprior to reading because the exploration of theseprerequisite terms and concepts will establish astrong foundation for subsequent learning.A second major reason for teaching the meaningof words is to increase the number of words thatstudents know and can use in a variety ofeducational, social, and eventually work-relatedareas. These are very likely to be what we havetermed Level II words. To increase the number ofwords the students learn, it is often helpful to teachthese words in morphological or semantic clusters. Morphological clusters refer to what Nagy callsthe word formation process. These clusters willoften build around a base or root word. Forexample, if a teacher were teaching the word armnot as a body part but as a verb meaning toprovide with a weapon, then it would probably beuseful to teach the morphologically related words:arms (noun), armed (adjective as in armed guard),disarm, rearm, unarm, armor, armory, armament, etc. Semantic clusters refer to words that are relatedin meaning or relate to the same field of study.Teaching words in semantic clusters is particularlyeffective since vocabulary expansion involves notjust the acquisition of the meaning of individualwords but also learning the relationships amongwords and how these words relate to each other.A very effective way to present semanticallyrelated words is to build word webs around somecentral concept. For example, after reading theselection Akiak, a story about dog sled racing inAlaska, it would be appropriate to build a wordweb of cold weather words.Link Spelling Instruction to Readingand Vocabulary Instruction Spelling knowledge applies not only to the ability toencode words during writing; importantly, it alsounderlies individuals ability to decode words duringthe process of reading (Templeton, 2003a, 2003b).Students spelling knowledge is, therefore, apowerful foundation for their reading and theirvocabulary development. This latter aspect islinked to the role that morphological knowledgeplays, as discussed in the previous section. Wordsthat are related in meaning are often related inspelling, despite changes in sound. Among intermediate students, examination ofhow spelling patterns reflect meaning leads tovocabulary growth. To get a sense of how theconnection works between spelling and meaning,examine the following words: bomb/ bombard;muscle/muscular; compete/competition. Because thewords in each pair are related in meaning, thespelling of the underlined sounds remains constant;although the sound that letters represent maychange in related words, the spelling usuallyremains the same because it preserves the meaningrelationship that these words share. Once students understand the spelling-meaningrelationships among words, they can learn how thespelling or structure of familiar words can be cluesto the spelling and the meaning of unknown words,and vice-versa. For example, a student who spellscondemn as condem in her spontaneous writing maybe shown the word condemnation: This not onlyexplains the so-called silent n in condemn butexpands the students vocabulary at the same time. Teach the Use of Dictionaries,Thesauruses, and Other ReferenceWorksExploring dictionary entries can be one importantand effective component of understanding a worddeeply. The entries can also help studentsdetermine the precise meaning of a word. Dictionaries can also provide helpful informationabout the history of a word and reinforce theinterrelationships among words in the samemeaning families. For example, a discussion ofrun-on entries illustrates how one words entry can7include information about related wordsthe entryfor entrap also includes entraps and entrapment. Theusage notes in dictionaries often explain subtle butimportant differences among wordsusually theappropriateness of one word over another in aparticular context. Words for which the dictionaryis essential may be entered in a students vocabularynotebook. Dictionaries can also contribute to aninterest in and attitudes toward words that teachersand the students explore.The usage notes in dictionaries reflect a powerfuland consistent research finding: everyword/concept we know, and the degree to whichwe really know it, depends on the relationship ofthat word/concept to other words/concepts. Thethesaurus, another resource for word learning, alsohelps learners make fine distinctions amongconcepts and words. This differentiation of learnersconceptual domains is the essence of vocabularydevelopment and growth.Teach the Application of a WordLearning Strategy As noted earlier, written texts contain richervocabulary and, therefore, more opportunities forexpansion of vocabulary through reading ascompared to the word challenge in oral language.However, the probability of learning a new wordsmeaning through encountering it in reading is nothighonly about one chance in twenty. There isresearch that shows that students can be taughtstrategic behaviors to improve their ability to learnthe meaning of words (Kuhn and Stahl, 1998).While skills such as application of morphologicalclues, reference works, and spelling clues to wordmeanings are all useful, they become more powerfuland functional when combined with the use ofcontext clues in a deliberate strategy.Based on a review of research and our experiencein working with students, we suggest the followingsequence:Step 1: Carefully look at the word; decide howto pronounce it. Carefully processing the lettersor chunks of letters of a word and thinking aboutthe sounds for them will leave a memory tracefor the word even if it is not a word that thereader knows. At very least, it is likely that if thereader encounters the word again in futurereadings, there will be at least a modicum offamiliarity with it. 8morphological clues. Nevertheless, it seemsuseful to take the step of making a best guess atthe words meaning since this further mentalactivity is likely to make the word more familiarthe next time it is encounteredeven if thestudents understanding of the word has to berevised.Step 4a: If you dont have a good idea as to thewords meaning and if the word seemsimportant, use a dictionary or glossary. Wesuggest two touchstones for determiningwhether or not a word is important. First, if thereader is beginning to have difficultyunderstanding what he or she is reading, themeaning of the word may contribute to a betterunderstanding of what is being read. It is,therefore, important. Second, if it is a word thatthe reader has encountered before and still hasno good idea as to its meaning, it is probably animportant word since it is likely to beencountered again in the future.Step 2a: Look around the word for context clues,including: Look within the sentence. Reread previous sentences. Read ahead for more context clues.Step 2b: Look in the word for prefixes andsuffixes, base words, and root words that mightoffer clues. We have listed this and the previousstep as 2a and 2b because with experiencestudents will apply one or the other firstdepending on the word. For a word with acommon prefix such as un-, morphological clueswould likely be used before the use of contextclues. The hallmark of a strategic reader is theflexible application of strategies.Step 3: Make your best guess at the wordsmeaning. It is important to stress with studentsthat natural context most often will not lead to aclear understanding of a words meaning andthat some words will not contain recognizableCarefully look at the word; decide how to pronounce it. Make your best guess at the words meaning. If you dont have a good idea as tothe words meaning and if the wordseems important, use a dictionary ora glossary. If you think you have figured outthe meaning of the word or if theword doesnt seem important,keep readingStrategy for Deriving Word MeaningsFigure 2Look around the word for context clues. Look within the sentence. Reread previous sentences. Read ahead for more clues.Look in the word. Look for prefixes and suffixes. Look for base words. Look for root words.9Step 4b: If you think you have figured out themeaning of the word or if the word doesnt seemimportant, keep reading. It would be unrealisticto tell a reader to look up every unknown wordin a dictionary; mature readers dont. Therefore,it is legitimate to move on and keep reading ifcontext and morphological clues have beensomewhat helpful or if the word doesnt seem tobe important for comprehension of what is beingread or for adding to ones functional vocabulary.Teachers need to strategically and flexibly modeland teach each of the above steps. Eventually, asstudents mature in their reading skills, they can andwill internalize the steps in this strategy.Application of these steps then becomes muchsmoother and more automatic, requiring lessattention. In fact, good readers usually blendthese steps.Encourage Wide Reading The importance of wide reading in the growth ofstudents vocabulary is critical (Nagy andAnderson, 1984). Given the staggering number ofnew words that children must add to theirvocabularies each year, it would be impossible todirectly teach all of them; Anderson (1996) estimatesthat it would require teaching about twenty newwords a day each day of the school year! Through wide independent reading, studentscome in contact with vocabulary that rarely occursin spoken language but that is much more likely tobe encountered in printed language. Cunninghamand Stanovich (1998) present evidence thatvocabulary used in oral communication such astelevision shows or adult conversation is extremelyrestricted. For example, prime time televisionshows have less challenging vocabulary thanchildrens books, and college graduates talking withfriends and spouses use vocabulary that is lesschallenging than that in preschool books! Create a Keen Awareness of and aDeep Interest in Language and Words Research reviewed earlier in this paper clearlyshows that some children enter school with manymore language skills than others. It seems reason-able to suggest that they also come with varyingdegrees of interest in words. Therefore, it is impor-tant that every teacher attempt to develop such aninterest. It seems important that every teacher beinterested in words themselves. We highly recom-mend that each teacher reading this paper go to thewebsite www.wordsmith.org and become a certifiedLinguaphile (one who loves language!). At nocost, it is possible to join over a half million lin-guaphiles who receive a word a day in their e-mail.Other excellent websites are www.wordcentral.comand http://pw1.netcom.com/~rlederer/rllink.htm. We also recommend that every teacher develop aword-a-day routine wherein there is a focus on aninteresting, challenging word. These words shouldbe introduced and discussed; students should beencouraged to look for them and use them in andout of school. If a word a day seems too fast a pace,a word every other day or even a word a week willstill be beneficial. Again, the main purpose is tocreate an interest in words; a secondary but highlyimportant purpose is to teach the meaning of thewords themselves. In the beginning of the year theteacher will probably need to select the words, butlater students should be encouraged to nominatethe words. As students continue to explore and think aboutwords, they can be encouraged to keep vocabularynotebooks in which they jot down interesting wordsthey come across in their reading (Bear, Invernizzi,Templeton, and Johnston, 2004). As they becomecomfortable with this technique, they can addinformation to each word as appropriaterecordingthe sentence in which it occurred so they gain asense of the context in which it is used, its wordparts and their meaning, and the appropriatedictionary definition.Students interest and curiosity about words arealso stimulated when they learn the logic behindword origins and the many stories that underliehow words came about and came to mean whatthey do. And it is also important to realize thatlearning these aspects about words reveals thatwords are not only interestingwords are also fun!For example, most intermediate students love theSniglets by Rich Hall (1984). A sniglet is any wordthat doesnt appear in the dictionary, but should.For example, detruncus (de trunk' us): Theembarrassing phenomenon of losing ones bathingshorts while diving into a swimming pool.BIBLIOGRAPHYAnderson, R.C. (1996). Research foundations tosupport wide reading. In Creany, V. (Ed.), Promotingreading in developing countries, 5577. Newark, DE:International Reading Association.Anderson, R.C., and Freebody, P. (1981). Vocabularyknowledge. In J. Guthrie (Ed.), Comprehension andteaching: Research reviews, 77117. Newark, DE:International Reading Association.Anderson, R.C., Hiebert, E. H., Scott, J.A., andWilkerson, I.A. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers.Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Education.Aronoff, M. (1994). Morphology. In A. C. Purves, L.Papa, and S. Jordan (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Englishstudies and language arts, Vol. 2, 820821. New York:Scholastic.Barnett, W. S. (2001). Preschool education foreconomically disadvantaged children: Effects onreading achievement and related outcomes. In S.Neuman and D. Dickenson (Eds.), Handbook of earlyliteracy research, 421443. New York: Guilford Press.Bear, D.R., Ivernizzi, M., Templeton, S., andJohnston, F. (2004) Words their way: Word study forphonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction. UpperSaddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., and Kucan, L. (2002).Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction.New York: Guilford.Corson, D. (1997). The learning and use of academicEnglish words. Language Learning, 47, 671718.Cunningham, A.E. and Stanovich, K.E. (1998).What reading does for the mind. American Educator,Summer, 815.Durkin, D. (1979). What classroom instruction hasto say about reading comprehension instruction.Reading Research Quarterly, 14, 481533.Ehri, L.C. (1994). Development of the ability to readwords: Update. In R. Ruddell, M. Ruddell, and H.Singer (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes ofreading (4th ed.), 323358. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.ConclusionsIt does seem hard to overstate the importance ofvocabularynot only for reading achievement butalso for general social and economic success. Theearly years of a childs life have a profoundinfluence on that childs language and vocabularydevelopment, which in turn greatly influencesschool success. Children who live in poverty intheir early years have much less verbal interactionwith their parents and consequently begin schoolwith far less vocabulary development than theirmore privileged peers. While the language gapdoesnt widen once children from lowersocioeconomic backgrounds enter the stimulatingenvironment of school, that gap does not narrow.Research suggests that it may not narrow becausethe vocabulary instruction offered is not sufficientlyintense or effective. Research is clear regarding implications forinstruction that will ensure the development oflarge, useful vocabularies: wide reading plays acritical role in developing knowledge, and teachersfacilitate this process by teaching strategies forlearning words independently, including teachingmorphological units, the use of dictionaries andother reference works, and exploring the linkbetween spelling and learning words. Teachersshould also directly teach important specific words,and they should develop and sustain studentsinterest in and curiosity about words.10Ehri, L.C. (1998). Grapheme-phoneme knowledge isessential for learning to read words in English. InJ.L. Metsala and L.C. Ehri (Eds.), Word recognition inbeginning literacy, 340. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Elley, W. B. (1989). Vocabulary acquisition fromlistening to stories. Reading Research Quarterly, 24,174187.Farcus, G. (2001). Family linguistic, cultural andsocial reproduction. ERIC ED 453 910.Hart, B., and Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningfuldifferences in the everyday experience of young Americanchildren. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brooks Publishing. Juel, C. Biancarosa, G., Coker, D., and Deffes, R.(2003). Walking with Rosie: A cautionary tale ofearly reading instruction. Educational Leadership,April, 1318.Kuhn, M.R., and Stahl, S.A. (1998). Teachingchildren to learn word meanings from context: Asynthesis and some questions. Journal of LiteracyResearch, 30, 119138.Leong, C.B., and Pikulski, J.J. (1990). Incidentallearning of word meanings. In J. Zutel and X.McCormick (Eds.), Thirty-ninth Yearbook of theNational Reading Conference, 231240. Chicago:National Reading Conference. Nagy, W.E., and Anderson, R.C. (1984). How manywords are there in printed school English? ReadingResearch Quarterly, 19, 304330.National Reading Panel. (2000). Report of theNational Reading Panel: Teaching children to read.Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Healthand Human Development. Pikulski, J.J., and Chard, D.J. (2003). Fluency: Bridgefrom decoding to reading comprehension. Boston, MA:Houghton Mifflin Company.Progress in International Reading/Literacy Study. (2003).www.pirls.org.Rand Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading forunderstanding: Towards an R&D program in readingcomprehension.www.rand.org/multi/achievementforallRobbins, C., and Ehri, L.C. (1994). Readingstorybooks to kindergarteners helps them learn newvocabulary words. Journal of Educational Psychology,85, 5464.Scarborough, H. (2001). Connecting early languageto later reading (dis)abilities. In S. Neuman and D.Dickenson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research,97110. New York: Guilford Press.Templeton, S. (1989). Tacit and explicit knowledge ofderivational morphology: Foundations for a unifiedapproach to spelling and vocabulary developmentin the intermediate grades and beyond. ReadingPsychology, 10, 233253.Templeton, S. (2003a). Spelling. In J. Flood, D. Lapp,J. Squire, and J. M. Jensen (Eds.), Handbook of researchon teaching the English language arts (2nd ed.),738751. Mahwah, NY: Lawrence ErlbaumAssociates.Templeton, S. (2003b). Teaching of spelling. In J.Guthrie (Senior Ed.), Encyclopedia of education (2nded.), 23022305. New York: Macmillan.Templeton, S. (2004). The vocabulary-spellingconnection: Orthographic development andmorphological knowledge at the intermediategrades and beyond. In J. Baumann and E. Kameenui(Eds.), Vocabulary instruction, 118138. New York:Guilford Press.Thorndike, E.L. (1971). Reading as reasoning: Astudy of mistakes in paragraph reading. ReadingResearch Quarterly, 6, 425434. (Originally publishedin 1917)1112John J. PikulskiJohn Pikulski is Professor ofEducation at the University of Delaware, where he has beenDirector of the Reading Center,Department Chairperson, andPresident of the UniversityFaculty Senate. He has served asa reading and psychological consultant tonumerous school districts and reading andgovernmental agencies throughout NorthAmerica. His current research interests focus onstrategies for preventing reading problems and theteaching and developing of vocabulary. An activemember in the International Reading Association,Dr. Pikulski has served on its Board of Directors,chaired various committees, contributed a monthlycolumn to its journal, and was president of theassociation in 199798. He is the coauthor of TheDiagnosis, Correction, and Prevention of ReadingDisabilities and Informal Reading Inventories, andhas been inducted into the prestigious ReadingHall of Fame. Dr. Pikulski is a senior author ofHoughton Mifflin Reading.Shane TempletonShane Templeton is FoundationProfessor of Curriculum andInstruction at the University ofNevada, Reno. Dr. Templetonsresearch has focused ondevelopmental word knowledgein elementary, middle, and highschool students. His books include ChildrensLiteracy: Contexts for Meaningful Learning andTeaching the Integrated Language Arts. He iscoauthor of Words Their Way: Word Study forPhonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction.Dr. Templeton is the senior author of HoughtonMifflin Spelling and Vocabulary and an author ofHoughton Mifflin English and Houghton MifflinReading. Since 1987, Dr. Templeton has been amember of the Usage Panel of The AmericanHeritage Dictionary.Copyright 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.Litho in U.S.A. SHA15M1203 G-23748800-733-2828 www.eduplace.comAuthors

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