Vocabulary

Vocabulary is essential to comprehension. Strategies to build vocabulary should be systematic, focused on structure as well as meaning, and link to written language skills.

Training in vocabulary building

 

Vocabulary

Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of American Children (Hart B and Risley T R 1995) Early Education for All (4th printing, January 2003)

A brief summary of Hart and Risley’s seminal paper on vocabulary differences between children of different socio-economic groups.

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The Thirty Million Word Gap (Orr A 2011) School of Literacy and Culture, Rice University Retrieved from centreforeducation.rice.edu

A useful short summary of Hart and Risley’s important paper.

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The Early Catastrophe - The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3 (Hart B and Risley T R 2003) American Educator: Spring

This important study showed that there are massive differences in the amount of language to which young children are exposed in families of different socio-economic backgrounds, resulting in proportionally large differences in vocabulary even by the age of three years.

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A Brief Critique of Hart and Risley (Nation I S P undated) LALS, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

This concise but clear critique of Hart and Risley’s important paper raises key questions about methodology and how much weight should be placed on the findings of the study. This is an excellent example of how to ask the right questions when evaluating a research report.

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Literacy assessment based upon the National Reading Panel’s Big Five components (Hempenstall, K 2013): Association for Direct Instruction

This exhaustive article by Kerry Hempenstall examines the practical issues around thorough assessment in each of the NRP 'pillars' of reading. As well as a detailed set of references, there is excellent discussion of the research base for such assessments and how teachers should use the data they yield. 

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Vocabulary / Oral Language / Comprehension: some research findings (Hempenstall K 2014) Retrieved from nifdi.org

An exhaustive summary of the research in each of these fields. This is essential reading for those who wish to grasp the depth and complexity of effective reading instruction.

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Teaching Vocabulary To Improve Reading Comprehension (Nagy, W 1988)

A summary of the best available approaches, based on current research information, for teaching vocabulary. William Nagy is a veteran in the field. His recommendations here are consistent with more current research.

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Research for Teachers: #14 Promoting Curriculum Access in Children and Youth with Reading Disabilities (Martinussen, R, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto undated): Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario

Rhonda Martinussen highlights the need for older students to have access to age-appropriate and evidence-based interventions to improve their word recognition skills, including word analysis strategies (eg how to identify multisyllabic words) and vocabulary knowledge.

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Effective Instruction for Adolescent Struggling Readers: A practice brief (Boardman, A. G., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Murray, C. S., & Kosanovich, M 2008)

It takes about twelve rich and varied exposures to a word to develop deep understanding. Teach multiple meanings of words to foster word consciousness ie sensitivity to context p16

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Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary 3 years later (Cartmill E A, Armstrong B F III, Gleitman L R, Goldin-Meadow S, Medina T N and Trueswell J C 2013)

A recent study from the University of Chicago assert that the quality of parents’ talk with their children, rather than their social class, predicts child vocabulary at age five. "Because preschool vocabulary is a major predictor of subsequent school success, this variability must be taken seriously and its sources understood."

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Giving Children Non-Verbal Clues About Words Boosts Vocabularies (Harms, William 2013): Science Daily

A readable news report on the above study is here:

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Training in vocabulary building