Reading Recipe: Vocabulary


An architect was walking thru Vocabulary City one day and was fascinated by the buildings. Each of the buildings were designed using words. As the architect looked around he saw tall colorful skyscrapers built with many words. Fantastic fancy buildings were built with expressive words. As the architect kept walking he was saddened by some of the buildings. There were missing pieces and holes throughout the buildings. These buildings were not as colorful, or tall, or expressive. The architect had wondered why in this city full of words why there was a difference. He came to a sign and it read:


A reader’s vocabulary is knowledge of words already known by that reader. Caldwell and Leslie (2009) describe what is involved in knowing a word, At the lowest level, it involves being able to provide a definition. At a higher level, it involves understanding how that word fits into a variety of contexts” (p. 128). If a reader can provide a definition of a word then the reader is able to attach a basic meaning to the word. Gale Gregory and Lin Kuzmich (2005) describe what will happen if students do not have, “…excellent vocabulary acquisitions strategies, students will not progress as fast and some students will not be able to access the content they must learn…” (p. 96).

In Kindergarten Literacy (2006), McGill-Franzen mentions a study on children’s language development. The study looked at the difference between children from professional families and children from families on welfare. McGill-Franzen (2006) commented, “Sadly for children in poor families, preschool vocabulary predicted later language achievement, even reading comprehension, in third grade” (p. 19). Being able to understand individual word meaning affects the comprehension of text. McGill-Franzen (2009) goes on to say that a child’s use of language by the age of three can predict their language development, listening, speaking, word meaning and syntax. For students who start with a limited vocabulary, the study of vocabulary is an important aspect to help develop reading comprehension.

Caldwell, S., Leslie, L. (2009). Intervention strategies to follow informal reading inventory assessment:

Gregory, G., Kuzmich, L. (2005). Differentiated literacy strategies for student growth and achievement in grades 7-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in

kindergarten. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Finally, he understood. Readers had built this city. There was a difference in vocabulary knowledge among the citizens.


Mrs. Berry


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