The Connection Between Vocabulary & Reading Comprehension

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  • 0:01 Vocabulary Acquisition
  • 0:47 Reading Comprehension
  • 1:24 The Link
  • 2:09 Activities
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to see how a student's vocabulary impacts his or her level of reading comprehension. Learn what kinds of activities you can use to help increase your student's reading comprehension through vocabulary acquisition.

Vocabulary Acquisition

We begin our vocabulary acquisition from the moment we are born. We listen to those around us and then we begin to imitate the sounds we hear. When we begin school, then we begin a more formal method of vocabulary acquisition, or learning new words. Not all of your students will have the same background, so some may know more words than others and some may know a whole different set of words, depending on their background and home life. It is your job as the teacher to bridge whatever gaps there are in your students' vocabulary knowledge so that all of them leave your classroom with a large enough vocabulary to move on to the next grade level and succeed there as well.

Reading Comprehension

As students reach the higher grades, their vocabulary knowledge becomes ever more important. In the higher grades it is important that your students have a large enough vocabulary so that they will understand all the required readings that they will need to do. Being able to understand what you are reading is referred to as reading comprehension. Your students will need to take standardized tests where they will be tested on their level of reading comprehension. It is your job to make sure that your students have enough vocabulary so that they are able to pass these tests.

The level of your students' reading comprehension is directly related to their level of vocabulary knowledge. Without a large enough vocabulary, your students will not be able to understand what they read. If your students do not understand what they are reading, then they will not be able to provide the right answer on classroom tests and standardized tests. In some classes, your students are required to learn some information through independent reading. In English class, for example, students are often given a chapter or two to read every single week on their own. If students do not have enough vocabulary to understand what they are reading, then they will not be able to follow along in the class. They will not be learning as much as they need to.

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