Developing Word Knowledge Through Vocabulary Instruction
Current research findings indicate that knowledge of word meanings greatly influence a reader's comprehension of text. As text comprehension is necessary for true "reading" to occur, classroom vocabulary instruction is critical. Children develop word-consciousness through their immersion in "print-rich" environments. Although in the past vocabulary instruction has focused primarily on memorizing words and their definitions, researchers today offer a variety of creative instructional methods geared towards vocabulary development. As with any instruction, some form of assessment is necessary in order to determine how best to meet students' needs. Currently, there are several standardized tests available that seek to assess vocabulary. Although such tests may have certain merit, some researchers offer suggestions for more authentic and contextualized vocabulary assessments within the classroom. Through the implementation of various instructional strategies and assessment measures, word knowledge can be better fostered within a classroom setting.