Knowledge of individual word meanings account for as much as 50-60% of the variance in reading comprehension (Stahl & Nagy, 2006). Scarborough’s rope model indicates strands in addition to vocabulary are important for language comprehension.
However, after a student has learned to decode, vocabulary knowledge is the most important factor influencing comprehension. (Moats, 2009a).
Vocabulary instruction includes implicit and explicit instruction as well as developing both depth and breadth of word knowledge. From third grade on, students must learn about 2,000-3,000 new words every year (Stahl and Nagy, 2006). Directly and explicitly teaching that many words in a year’s time would not be effective. About 10 words per week is a reasonable amount to teach in-depth. The other words, students will need to learn by implicit means such as listening to new words used in conversation or during read alouds, and reading about a wide variety of topics in varied genres (Biemiller, 2005).
Project Manager, Progress in the General Curriculum Network
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