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Download and Print Vocabulary Development Booklet here (PDF)


There is a strong relationship between a student’s level of reading comprehension and his/her level of aggression and his/her degree of antisocial behavior. In many instances, reading problems precede the development of disruptive behavior disorders. Many beginning skills are required for the development of reading competency. These skills include phonemic awareness, phonological skills, fluency, word identification skills and text comprehension skills. The most predictive indicator of later reading comprehension and academic success is the level of vocabulary development.

This section will examine the critical questions about vocabulary development. It will provide practical suggestions for teachers to help students with deficient reading abilities enhance their reading competence.

  1. Why is vocabulary level so important to the development of reading skills?

  2. What is the range of individual differences in students’ vocabulary levels in the primary grades?

  3. What factors account for these substantive differences in vocabulary?

  4. What are you doing now to promote vocabulary development in your classroom? How many words a day do you teach?

  5. How can teachers promote vocabulary development in the primary grades? (See Practical Guidelines on how to read aloud stories to primary grade students.

  6. What strategies, besides reading aloud, can teachers use to build students’ vocabularies?

  7. What are some of the practical problems primary teachers face in promoting students’ vocabulary, and how can these be addressed?

A set of Guidelines based on reading research is offered outlining how to read stories aloud to primary grade students in order to improve their vocabulary and reading competence.
These Guidelines are summarized in the form of a Bookmark that you can download and use as a reminder when reading stories to your students. We invite and encourage you to share these Guidelines with your colleagues, the parents of your students, older reading buddies and others who have an opportunity to read aloud to your students.

This Section concludes with four additional items:
  • An illustrative list of additional instructional activities for primary teachers to use to nurture reading competence (Auditory Training; Phonemic Awareness Instruction; Letter-sound Knowledge; Word Recognition and Word Identification Skills)

  • Follow-through Teacher Activities

  • References

  • website Links

This web site has been produced by The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment to provide research-based school violence prevention procedures for educators. The web site has been made possible with the generous support of the Robert and Renee Belfer Foundation and other supporters.
The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment to provide research-based school violence prevention procedures for educators
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