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

6 Million Dollar Reading Make over: Recipe for Reading

Parts of Reading


Gentlemen and ladies, we can rewrite it. We have the technology. We have the capability to write the world’s finest recipe for reading. Mrs. Berry will be that writer. Better than before. Better, longer, more in-depth.

Ok, it might not be the finest recipe; however, this is what I have discovered over the last three months. I started this series earlier in the semester and received feedback.  Let us just say, I needed to give it a bit more depth.  I will start to define what is reading, and then define each of the eight sections.  I am always learning, so if you have any feedback, please let me know.

Reading is a complex process that involves many different parts. These parts are: print concepts, background knowledge, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and motivation. Print concepts are knowing the front of book, that print not pictures tell a story, what are letters and words, where first letters in a word are found, upper and lower case letters, and some punctuation marks (Clay 1998). Background knowledge is something in which new meaning are built upon Wilhelm (2004). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe vocabulary as, “Every language has a collection of words, a lexicon, that has particular meanings” (p. 21). Hall and Moats (2006) define phonemic awareness, “This term means that the child must be aware of the separate speech sounds in a word, not just be able to recognize letters” (p. 38). Phonics is a system of correspondence between grapheme-phoneme and linking the spelling of words to their pronunciations (Ehri 2001). Fountas and Pinnell (2006) describe fluent reading as, “…using smoothly integrated operations to process the meaning, language, and print” (p. 62). Comprehension is a process which starts with word identification and using background knowledge and ending with making the text make sense (Sousa, 2006, p. 187). Last in the list is motivation. Jensen (2005), discusses motivation, “Another way to think about motivation is that it consist of the willingness to be active (volition) combined with the actual behavior (meaningful participation)” (p. 102). A teacher needs to know which parts a student has or does not have mastery over through assessments. McGill-Franzen (2006) states, “To know where to start instruction you must know what the child can do. Effective teachers build on what children know” (p. 7).


Clay, M. (1989). The Reading Teacher. Research Library, 42(4), 268.

Ehri, C., Nunes, S., Stahl, S., Willows, D. (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read: Evidence from the national reading panel’s meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71(3), 393-447.

Fountas, I., Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking,and writing about reading, k-8. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hall, S., Moats, L. (2006). Straight talk about reading: How parents can make a difference during the early years. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Jenson, E. (2005). Teaching with the brain in mind: 2nd edition revised and updated. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

McGill-Franzen, A. (2006). Kindergarten literacy: Matching assessment and instruction in kindergarten. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Wilhelm, J. (2004). Reading is seeing: Learning to visualize scenes, characters, ideas, and text worlds to improve comprehension and reflective reading. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.


Mrs. Berry

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