Using Vocabulary Strategies to Improve Reading Skills

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Vocabulary strategies are a good way to dissect words within a passage to determine their meaning. This lesson discusses several different ways to do this quickly and without a dictionary.

Relationship Between Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension

The relationship between knowing vocabulary and reading is a symbiotic one. Research points to ''a strong argument for a reciprocal causal relation between reading and vocabulary.'' This makes sense, because how can you understand a book you are reading if some of the words are unknown to you? And how can you know the words if you do not understand the book? When reading books or passages, it is important to comprehend the vocabulary so you can also understand everything you have read.

The problem is, the English language is very wordy! It's difficult to know exactly how many words there are in English, but many put the number between one and two million. Even though this takes into account many words we don't use in our everyday lives, this amount of words is still daunting. However, it is believed that our verbal vocabulary is actually more advanced than our writing and reading vocabulary. This means that we have more knowledge than we know, which is good.

The goal in reading a difficult text is to dissect a word so much that you can jump to conclusions as to its meaning. This eventually becomes a more fluid process over time, making reading easier and quicker.

Strategies for Vocabulary

So how do you determine vocabulary in a passage if you do not know the word? The following strategies are ways to decipher a word's meaning, without a dictionary.

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