CRITICAL ASPECTS of Skilled Reading:

The foundation of reading

Cracking the code

Speed matters

Knowing lots of words

Digging for Meaning



Thoughts to inspire and motivate when you're
feeling down about reading.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING
LOTS AND LOTS OF WORDS

Written by THRIVE Program Teacher, Tyson Schoeber • Last Updated: 08-28-2014

There is a very strong relationship between the size and depth of a person's vocabulary and their ability to read. In a fabulous presentation I attended some years ago, Dr. J. Ron Nelson A concept web for the vocabulary word `generous.'said The main reason children cannot understand what they read is a lack of adequate vocabulary.

So, kids who understand and use lots of different words in their early years are almost certainly going to become better readers than those who don't. The trouble is that there are many different problems that can limit the growth of a child's vocabulary. The good news is that families and schools can do a lot to encourage growth in this area.

FIGURE OUT WORDS YOU DON'T KNOW

When you read, look for words you don't know that seem important and make an effort to learn them.

A clip art image showing a boy with a magnifying glass who is studying a word like a detective.

GET AND USE A GOOD DICTIONARY

A picture of the front cover of the Scholastic Children's Dictionary.

I strongly encourage families to purchase a good children's dictionary for their child's use at home.

THE NEED FOR LOTS OF REVIEW AND PRACTICE

Researchers tell us that we rarely begin to use new words until we've been exposed to them many, many times. So when you're trying to build your vocabulary, getting lots of different kinds of practice with your new words is really important.

SIGHT WORDS

English constantly recycles a very small number of words. In fact, just 300 different words make up about 80% of all the writing in every book!

A graphic showing a few sight words.

Many of these words are not spelled the way they sound, so it's essential that a child develop the ability to quickly read, write and spell all of these words.

PRONOUNCIATION PRACTICE

Those are big words that simply mean You've got to learn to say them right! Listen carefully when new words are taught in class. Speak them out loud, one syllable at a time.

A graphic showing one of the colorful graphics THRIVE kids make for new vocabulary we're learning in class.
A graphic showing one of the colorful graphics THRIVE kids make for new vocabulary we're learning in class.

READ, READ, READ

A simple graph depicting the relationship between amount of words read and the growth in a child's vocabulary.

The AMOUNT of reading you do is believed to be the biggest factor in the growth of your vocabulary.

Here's a link to a summary of the
research proving this point.

AUDIO BOOKS

For kids who struggle with reading, listening to audio books is a fantastic strategy. Hearing stories read to you exposes you to all kinds of words and ideas that you may not run across in your own reading.

Clip art of some CDs.

THRIVE has a huge number of audio books on CD available to loan to kids!

WORD WALL

In THRIVE, we spend lots of time building our Word Wall each year. The tips and ideas on this page can help families make the most of this important part of our program. A graphic depicting a few of the colorful vocabulary words illustrated by THRIVE kids in previous years.

DIRECT INSTRUCTION

Vocabulary instruction is especially important for struggling readers who might not spend as much time in independent reading as proficient readers.

See also this Current Practice Alert
from TeachingLD.org