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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:

Congratulations! Your answer was correct.
Sorry but your answer was incorrect.
  • 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

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