As children approach the middle grades and become more proficient in
decoding and recognizing known words, vocabulary acquisition focuses
more on meaning than recognition (Chall 1987). Direct instruction is
an important aspect of vocabulary acquisition, and relates to reading
comprehension in that children integrate new words with their prior
An important component of vocabulary development is social interactions
and interventions in the classroom. Conversations (Peterson & Eeds,
1990) about shared readings of literature can include rich discussions
about new words and their meanings. Students can find it motivating
to work collaboratively to define new words using creative means, such
as context clues or drama, and traditional methods, such as a dictionary
or other media sources.
Vocabulary is essential to the understanding of the written and spoken word. Increasing students’ vocabulary will lead to an increased understanding in all subject areas. The BPS MAP Assessment results for Grade Six indicate word meaning is an area falling below the average mean RIT.
Chall, J. (1987). Two vocabularies for reading: Recognition and meaning. In M.G. McKeown, & M.E. Curtis (Eds). The nature of vocabulary acquisition (pp. 7-17). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Peterson, R., & Eeds, M. (1990). Grand conversations: Literature groups in action. New York: Scholastic.