Vocabulary Education Questions

How do students develop and expand their vocabularies?
How is vocabulary linked to reading comprehension?
Which vocabulary words should teachers teach students directly?
What are the four types of vocabulary?
What is receptive vocabulary?
What is expressive vocabulary?
What is sight word vocabulary?
What is decoding (also known as word attack skills)?
What is encoding?
What is automaticity?

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How do students develop and expand their vocabularies?

Current scientific research on vocabulary instruction reveals that (1) most vocabulary is learned indirectly, and (2) some vocabulary must be taught directly. Indirectly students develop their vocabulary through everyday experiences with oral language, listening to adults read to them or reading extensively on their own. Although a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some vocabulary should be taught directly. This can be done through explicit word instruction (teaching specific words) and word learning strategies (using dictionaries, reference aids, context clues, and using word parts such as prefixes, suffixes, and root words). Vocabulary plays an important role in learning to read. Beginning readers use the words they have heard to make sense of the words they see in print. If a student has a limited oral vocabulary, they will have difficulty making meaning from the words, even if they sound them out. Reading volume, rather than oral language, is the prime contributor to individual differences in expanding children's vocabularies past the 4th grade.

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How is vocabulary linked to reading comprehension?

Readers cannot understand what they are reading without knowing what most of the words read represent. As one reads more, one increases their personal vocabulary word bank and learns the meaning of new words that are not part of their oral vocabulary. Expanding one's vocabulary word bank makes understanding the message in print more meaningful and rich.

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Which vocabulary words should teachers teach students directly?

Because the English language contains too many words to teach them all directly, teachers need to choose wisely which words students need to learn. Student should learn:

  1. Important words - words that are critical to understanding a text prior to reading.
  2. Useful words - words that students will see often in print.
  3. Difficult words - words with multiple meanings or are easily confused with other words.

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What are the four types of vocabulary?

Researchers often refer to these four types of vocabulary:

  1. Listening vocabulary - all the words that we hear and understand.
  2. Speaking vocabulary - all the words we use in everyday speech.
  3. Reading vocabulary - the words that we need to know to understand what we read.
  4. Writing vocabulary - the words we use appropriately in writing.

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What is receptive vocabulary?

Receptive vocabulary refers to the bank of words we instantly recognize when listening to someone speak or when reading independently. Receptive vocabulary is often called listening vocabulary.

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What is expressive vocabulary?

Expressive vocabulary is the bank of words we use to communicate when speaking or writing.

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What is sight word vocabulary?

Sight word vocabulary occurs when a reader sees a word in print that triggers memory information about the word's spelling, pronunciation, and meaning. A reader's sight word vocabulary is made up of words that can be recognized instantly because of the frequency in which they appear in text. The more one reads, the greater one's sight word vocabulary grows.

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What is decoding (also known as word attack skills)?

Decoding is the ability and willingness to sound out words found in print by generating all the sounds into a recognizable word (i.e. the letters c-a-t says cat). Technically this is called phonological recoding. Word attack skills is the ability to convert graphic symbols (i.e. the letters in the English alphabet) into intelligible language.

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What is encoding?

Encoding is the opposite of decoding. Encoding is the process of taking the spoken word and converting it into print by using graphic symbols to represent the intelligible language.

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What is automaticity?

The ability to get the meaning of a word quickly, effortlessly, and unconsciously after a brief visual scan is called automaticity. This happens when a word is successfully read several times so that the brain's neural connections among the letters, the sounds the letters make, and the meaning of the entire word are fully established and automatic in recognition.

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