Vocabulary Attainment for Language Learners – The Five Components

Building academic vocabulary fell off the bandwagon as wide reading took its place. However, researchers. including Dr. Nancy Boyles, have now realized that vocabulary instruction before, during, and after reading complex texts is valuable for increasing students’ reading comprehension (Boyles, 2012; Mudambi, 2013 & 2015). Vocabulary is especially important for emergent bilinguals (including those who have been identified as English Language Learners, those who have exited the program, and those who were never identified but are learning more than one language). The need for explicit instruction in vocabulary is underscored by the fact that it takes four to seven exposures to a new word for students to learn the word (Nagy & Scott, 2004).


There are five, major components of vocabulary instruction.

  1. Word Connections refers to relating words to other words, images, or ideas.
  2. Significance relates to providing student-appropriate definitions as opposed to dictionary definitions of
    words.
  3. Context Clues refer to students learning about words through the text surrounding the word.
  4. A Word Rich Environment surrounds students with words and literature, challenging their language
    development.
  5. Finally, teachers need to confirm students’ ability to use rigorous vocabulary through formal and informal Evaluations. (Mudambi, 2013).

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