Poor readers often lack adequate vocabulary to get meaning from what they read. Consequently, reading is diﬃcult and tedious for them, and they are unable (and often unwilling) to do the large amount of reading they must do if they are to encounter unknown words often enough to learn them. This situation contributes to what are called “Matthew Eﬀects,” that is, interactions with the environment that exaggerate individual diﬀerences over time, with “rich get richer, poor get poorer” consequences. Good readers read more, become even better readers, and learn more words; poor readers read less, become poorer readers, and learn fewer words. Indeed, the vocabulary problems of students who enter school with poor or limited vocabularies only worsen over time.
Download and review the Promoting Vocabulary Development publication. The booklet is divided into three parts. The ﬁrst part outlines some of the obstacles that can make vocabulary development a diﬃcult task. The second part provides an overview of the components of eﬀective vocabulary instruction and how these components can help students overcome the major obstacles to vocabulary growth. Part three describes some speciﬁc techniques that are especially useful in teaching word meanings as concepts, particularly in the content areas.