Sunday, March 18, 2007

What is Vocabulary?

Vocabulary is one of the elements of Evidence based Reading
Instruction, researched in the EFF Read With Understanding
Project. A good vocabulary affects at least two of the other
elements: comprehension and fluency. What does research tell
us about how you acquire vocabulary and what instruction
must do to help you develop the kind of vocabulary knowledge
that will contribute to your reading success?

The paragraph below is an excerpt from the article, A Focus
on Vocabulary, a PREL study. The entire paper can [still] be
located [I hope!] at

What Is Vocabulary?

Broadly defined, vocabulary is knowledge of words and word

However, vocabulary is more complex than this definition
suggests. First, words come in two forms: oral and print.
Oral vocabulary includes those words that we recognize and
use in listening and speaking. Print vocabulary includes
those words that we recognize and use in reading and
writing. Second, word knowledge also comes in two forms,
receptive and productive. Receptive vocabulary includes
words that we recognize when we hear or see them. Productive
vocabulary includes words that we use when we speak or
write. Receptive vocabulary is typically larger than
productive vocabulary, and may include many words to which
we assign some meaning, even if we don't know their full
definitions and connotations, or ever use them ourselves as
we speak and write (Kamil & Hiebert, in press).


  1. Hi Teacher Vanessa,

    First of all, let me apologize for not partipating in the site because I was quite busy in preparing my dissertation. Even if I have not been able to complete it but I will try to participate.

    Vocabulary is an important item in English learning or any other language. I like to improve my English langugage with particular reference to law.



  2. Thanks for posting. It's really useful for my kids and me. I agree that reading is a good way to increase our vocabulary. I have started reading many different topics for a while. Hopefully I will see my improvement later.

  3. Rajeev - Ugh! "English langugage with particular reference to law" is abominably wordy. Have you ever heard of the Plain English Movement? Check it out. Exercises from Writing in Plain English.

    To improve your legal vocabulary in English, read case law and articles in English language law review journals. There are also English language legal dictionaries and glossaries online for the seeking, e.g. you find them.

  4. Dear Vanessa!

    I think that vocabulary is important thing for studying language. The vocabulary must to make up day by day by reading, speaking and writing. I'm trying to read and write every day but not always it's possible. To the purpose, I'm using a program "Babylon" for translate unknown words it's very helps me to read. The site of this program there are many dictionaries for free too.


  5. Mark

    Dictionaries are useful but remember that your goal is to become less dependent on dictionaries

  6. Dear Vanessa!
    This is the firt time I post coment because my english is not good. I am afraid every body laugh me, but now I think if some body do not know alot English they have to read and write more.
    Specialy study vocabulary see to read, see to write and take note as many as well. example when see advertise on television or on the street... we should take note and look up in dictionnary.
    vocabulary and grammar are useful for me I will dowload to study



  7. Thinh - never hesitate to post. No one will laugh at you. You are among friends. Everybody in the class has been just where you are right nw.


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