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VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT And Comprehension Improvement Presentation provided by UTPB West Texas Literacy Center, an HSI funded program. HSI is a federally funded program granted by the Department of Education Title V programs. Developed by Ana Miller, M.A., Reading Specialist
Words as Tools To access background knowledge To express ideas To learn about new concepts Word knowledge is crucial to reading comprehension and academic success.
Three Types of Vocabulary Listening – Established by the time student begins kindergarten Speaking – Words used in everyday speech Reading – Body of words students must know if they are to read increasingly demanding text with fluency and comprehension On average, students add 2,000-3,000 words a year to their reading vocabularies Six to eight words per day
Two Vocabulary Dimensions Breadth The number of words that a student knows, at least at a superficial level Depth How well the student knows a word, including pronunciation, spelling, meaning, frequency, and morphological and syntactic properties Morphology – The formation, internal structure, and derivations of words Syntax – The arrangement of words within phrases, clauses, and sentences
Breaking Down Types of Words Tier One – In spoken vocabulary: mother, clock, jump Tier Two – Words with wide usage that most readers do not have in their spoken vocabularies: dismayed, paradoxical, absurd, wary. Estimated 7,000 words Tier Three – Highly specialized and are almost never used outside of the disciplines where they are encountered: monozygotic, tetrahedron, bicameral
Strategies to Increase Vocabulary Development Implicit Wide reading Readers learn new words by repeatedly encountering them in text Explicit Instruction Structural Analysis: The use of word parts Prefixes- word part added to beginning of a root or word: preheat Suffixes- word part added to the end of a word or root and usually changes the word’s part of speech: cloud (n) Cloudy (adj) Roots-Word parts that carry the basic or core meaning of a word: scrib/script = write scribble Compounds-A new word formed by two words: paperwork Use of context clues Efficient use of the dictionary
Structural Analysis Many words in the English language are made up of words parts called prefixes, roots, and suffixes. These word parts have specific meanings that, when added together, can help you determine the meaning of the entire word. Example: The students thought the book was incomprehensible. in = not Comprehen = to understand ible = able to do something; also changes this word from verb to adjective incomprehensible = not able to understand
Structural Analysis In most cases, a word is built upon at least one root. Words can have more than one prefix, root, or suffix. Two or more roots – geo/logy: earth/study of Two prefixes – in/sub/ordination: not/under/order Two suffixes – beauti/ful/ly: beauty/full of- noun to adjective/ly- adjective to adverb Words do not always have a prefix and a suffix. Some words have neither a prefix or a suffix – read Others have a suffix but no prefix – read/ing Others have a prefix but no suffix – pre/read
Structural Analysis The spelling of roots may change as they are combined with suffixes – Root: terr/terre = territory Different prefixes, roots, or suffixes may have the same meaning: bi-, di-, duo- all mean two Sometimes you may identify a group of letters as a prefix or root but find that it does not carry the meaning of that prefix or root: Ex. The letters mis in the word missile are part of the root and are not the prefix mis- which means “wrong; bad” Websites that provide Prefix, Suffix, and Root Tables (meanings and examples) http://www.msu.edu/~defores1/gre/roots/gre_rts_afx-tab1htm http://www.msu.edu/~defores1/gre/sufx/gre_suffx_tab_prn.htm
Context Clues The words around an unfamiliar word that give you clues about the unknown word’s meaning The couple finally secured a table at the popular, crowded restaurant. By using the clues around the word secured, the reader can determine that secured means “able to get.”
Types of Context Clues – Definition or Synonym Sometimes a writer will provide a formal definition of the unknown word: The settlers reached the piedmont, a gently rolling foothill area between a plain and mountains. More often a writer will provide a synonym or a brief phrase that defines the unfamiliar word: The king’s laws were often arbitrary; in other words, he made rules based on how he felt at the moment. Common signal words: which is, in other words, also known as, also called, that is, or Common punctuation: Commas –The amateur figure skater surpassed, or exceeded, the judges’ expectations. Dashes – The sculptor usually created a maquette – a small model – before beginning work on the actual piece. Parentheses – Thick layers of loess (wind-blown silt) cover regions of the Mississippi River Valley. These definitions or synonyms may not be found in the same sentence but elsewhere in the text.
Types of Context Clues - Example The context in which a word appears may include one or more examples that are clues to the unknown word’s meaning. Our science class is studying crustaceans, such as lobsters, shrimp, and crab. Crustaceans must be sea animals with an exoskeleton and segmented body parts. Words signaling Example context clues: like for example other including for instance such as these include
Types of Context Clues - Comparison The writer compares the unfamiliar word with more familiar words. By noting the similarities between the things described, the reader can get an idea of the meaning of the word. The amethyst, like other precious stones known for hardness, cannot be cut with a knife or scratched by glass. An amethyst must be a valuable gem that has the properties of a diamond. Words Signaling a Comparison: like similar to similarly resembling likewise related in the same way
Types of Context Clues – Contrast or Antonym The writer states how the meaning of the unfamiliar word is different or opposite from the clue. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was concise, in sharp contrast to the long-winded, two-hour speech that he presented earlier. A concise speech is opposite of a long speech, so concise must mean brief or short. Words Signaling a Contrast or Antonym but on the other hand instead differently on the contrary although however in contrast to unlike
Types of Context Clues – Cause & Effect The cause of an action or event may be stated using an unfamiliar word. If the effect is stated in familiar terms, it can help the reader understand the unknown word. The weeds in the garden are so profuse, that I can no longer see the flowers. Cause-There are many weeds. Effect-You can’t see the flowers. Profuse must mean a large quantity. Words Signaling Cause and Effect because consequently that so since therefore as a result
Types of Context Clues – Infer from General Context Often the context clues are in the surrounding sentences, and the reader must infer or make an educated guess about the unknown word’s meaning. A single piece of information several sentences away from the unfamiliar word may be an important clue. By the middle of the semester, Bob started to see the fallacy in this thinking. Since he had done well in high school without doing much reading or schoolwork, he thought he could continue this routine in college. He now realized he had been mistaken. He would have to work to earn the grades. Fallacy must mean to make an error in judgment.
No Context Clues? Not all sentences or text contain context clues. You will need to use other methods to determine the word’s meaning. Some suggestions: Pronounce the word aloud. You may hear a word or word part that you know or that you may recall, within the unknown word Carefully analyze the word’s parts. Look up the word in the dictionary.
References Baumann, J.F., & Kameenui, E.J. (1991). Research on vocabulary instruction: Ode to Voltaire. In J. Flood, D. Lapp, & J. R. Squire (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts (pp. 604-632). New York:Macmillan. McWhorter, K. (2006). Guide to College Reading. New York: Pearson Longman. McWhorter, K. (2006). Vocabulary simplified: Strategies for building your college vocabulary. New York: Pearson Longman. Quian, D.D. (1998). Depth of vocabulary knowledge: Assessing its role in adults’ reading comprehension in English as a second language.Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Quian, D. D. (1999). Assess the roles of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension. Canadian Modern Language Review, 56, 282-308. Texas Education Agengy. 2003). Promoting vocabulary development: Components of effective vocabulary instruction, Texas Reading Initiative, Austin, TX, (No. GEO1 105 04).