Unlocking Meaning: Vocabulary is the Key
Children’s language learning depends on their exposure to and involvement in language — the amount of talk in children’s homes from the time they speak their first words impacts later school performance and learning. Our language in turn is comprised of all the words we know and use. These words form our vocabularies.
Reading comprehension from third grade and beyond requires the ability to recognize or “read” words and possess a large vocabulary of words we know and use. The absence of either ensures a low level of reading comprehension. Most children learn hundreds of word meanings during their first 7 years.
Vocabulary is important for learning to read as well as reading to learn. In order to understand what they read, students need to be familiar with the meaning of at least 95 percent of words in any book or passage. In order to illustrate the strong link between vocabulary and meaning, read the passage below and identify the main idea:
Most modern-day lobster pots are rectangular and are constructed of coated wire mesh. Once the lobstermen have dropped their pots, the lobster has to pass through the parlor to get to the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, the lobster can’t retreat and the parlor is open for another lobster. When it tries to exit, it lands in the bedroom. Some pots have more than one kitchen and bedroom.
Lobstermen who catch a lobster with berries will release it. They also notch it before releasing, so it can spawn again. A notch generally lasts through two spring shedding seasons.
The main idea of this passage is:
- a. Lobsters live in spacious apartments
- b. Lobster fishing is a complex process that requires special equipment
- c. Lobstermen use berries to catch fresh lobster
- d. You can make a great meal of lobsters and berries if you have the right kitchen tools
- 2Key Terms
- 3Literacy Diagram
- 4Literacy: A Cornerstone of College and Career Readiness
- 5Literacy Skills Develop Over Time
- 6“Texts” Come in All Shapes and Sizes
- 7Literacy: An Evolving Set of Skills
- 8Oral Language and the Reading Connection
- 9Unlocking Meaning: Vocabulary is the Key
- 10The Vocabulary Gap
- 11How Do Reading Skills Develop?
- 12How Do We Become Good Readers?
- 13Five Components of Reading
- 14Phonemic Awareness
- 19Comprehension — Putting the Pieces Together
- 20Developmental Stages of Reading
- 21Stage 1 — Visual Cue Word Recognition
- 22Stage 2 — Phonetic Cue Word Recognition
- 23Stage 3 — Controlled Word Recognition
- 24Stage 4 — Automatic Word Recognition
- 25Stage 5 — Strategic Reading
- 26Stage 6 — Proficient Adult Reading
- 27How’s My Reading?
- 28The Power of Writing!
- 29How Writing Skills Develop
- 30Why Literacy Is Important
- 31Preventing Summer Learning Loss
- 32Literacy Everywhere
- 33Deepen Your Understanding
- 34Listen to Students Read Aloud
- 35The Value of Good Questions
- 36Motivation — A Key to Promoting Positive Reading Behaviors
- 37Literacy Skills Affect Future Success and Civic Participation
- 38Learn More Library
- 41Check for Understanding