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Investigating the Knowledge of Words among Your Learners.

Knowledge of Words among Students

Knowledge of words among Students usually ranges at a scale of simple to complex depending on many factors.

An example of “simple” type knowledge is what is known as definitional knowledge. This is basic knowledge of words based on how it is defined in resources like glossary, word bank, people (like friends or teachers), or a dictionary.

Nevertheless, students sometimes fail to get the link between the definitions and what the words mean when reading texts as they often come across several words they don’t know.

This incapacity to deduce what the defined words contribute to whatever text they are studying hampers their understanding of the entire or some parts of the text.

According to studies, to comprehend a word’s meaning, the reader must have some idea of how the same word’s definitional denotation or meaning adds up to the cohesiveness of the writer’s thoughts in the text—or what these words suggest.

Contextual knowledge is another form of “simple” type knowledge. This refers to a word’s meaning as used in a context. The context, in this case, maybe a passage, picture or discussion. Scholars have confirmed that Contextual knowledge usually has a stronger link to the text in question than definitional knowledge.

However, the ability to capture contextual clues depends on the reader’s ability to derive meanings from unfamiliar words.

A student must have the right knowledge to benefit from the contribution of contextual clues linked to the meanings of the words and comprehend the meaning of texts. They must also learn how the meanings of these words combine to make communication of content possible.

On the one hand, students that struggle to get meaning from texts have fewer encounters with words in schools; therefore, they cannot merely depend on context to infer what unfamiliar words may mean. On the other hand, skilled readers have the skills to put together information during the reading process as they construct meaning.

In cases where context is not sufficient to deduce meanings of unfamiliar words, skillful readers employ their language knowledge to infer meaning.

A student with a diverse background of knowledge is has more advantage because of their vast knowledge which may also include how grammatical features are used in print and what those words mean in that particular content.

A student’s conceptual background influences a lot how their vocabulary develops. Students often depend on their past experiences to build up, develop and refine a concept as meant by the words they come across in print or speech.

The same way a person’s background of experiences keeps on developing all through their lives, meanings of words are also in a never-ending state of fluctuation.

Day to day experiences with different concepts will keep on modifying the meanings of words because every time one adds new Information into existing word representations and these new encounters with the word force them to adjust and accommodate the representation itself.

How robust a word is dependent on how rich a reader’s experience is and how they link these experiences with the word? As stated earlier, many readers who struggle have limited or different encounters of the context which usually slows down the development of their vocabulary.

The Process of Learning a New Word.

Learning a new word or another meaning to a known word is a systematic process. Readers get meanings of unfamiliar words depending on how the new word links to other concepts and words that they have learned before.

Linking words that they have learned with newly met words help students identify with how these words connect. When the instruction concentrates more on strengthening these links, the reader is not being asked to give an abstract meaning of a word. Rather, the task is to connect newly met words with their previously learned vocabulary and experiences which in turn represent concepts that make sense within text and stories they are reading.

Therefore, to know a word in complete sense is more than merely possessing the ability to define it or grasp its basic meaning from a context; rather, it is having the capacity to discuss, elucidate, and demonstrate what the word would mean in technical detonations as well as in several contexts in which the word is used.

It is, therefore, necessary to point out that; the ability to creating links and accommodations to previously acquired knowledge depends on the complexity of the new word.

For instance, words like sphygmomanometer (a blood pressure measuring instrument) can stand as a new word for previously learned concepts and ideas.

Though the word sphygmomanometer might be an unknown word to the reader, students already have it in mind there is an object that paramedics use to measure blood pressure.

This knowledge is based on their past encounters with these words. It is no wonder they can quickly accommodate this newly met word. On the other hand, there are words that readers or learners encounter and have no background concepts on whatsoever.

Helping learners grasp unfamiliar technical words is way more difficult than when first try to build concepts before teaching the word.

Guiding instructions that push students to students make links and accommodations background experiences and offers different opportunities for readers use their knowledge to lean and hold on to newly met vocabulary or word.

Furthermore, the more a student’s vocabulary develops, the more comprehension skills sharpen which in line adds to their knowledge of words.

How to Engage Learners While Introducing New Words.

It is possible to engage learners in all new word lessons and help expand their understanding of different vocabulary by giving timely guidance.

Only through explicit guidance can a student go beyond mere memorization of word definitions to link the word meaning with background knowledge and build up different representations of what it may mean in different contexts. The basis for development in vocabulary is the persistent growth of language capability. In essence, writers and readers usually share meanings. We can acquire word meanings through our first-hand encounter as well as through incredible experiences that refine meaning.

Encounters in natural environments also add to the development of vocabulary. Nevertheless, employing explicit guidance strategies for readers that struggle offer the necessary assistance to learn new vocabulary and comprehend better new texts. Here is a guide through the process:

1. Pick the new set of words for vocabulary instruction. These words should be picked from the texts learners read in class. Anyone— student, teacher, student, or both can choose these words. The importance of using words picked from texts will read help make the meaning of these words relevant to that particular context and in turn help build links between background knowledge and newly obtained knowledge.

2. Base your instructions to students on language exercises as the major strategy to word learning. Focusing on exercises should engage the learner inactively participate in learning these new words, improve remembering and lead to a deeper processing capacity of the words. Allow your students the several chances to use these new words in writing, speaking, listening and reading activities.

3. Come up with a conceptual scenario for learning these new sets of words. You can do this with the help of an analogy, other known links to the word and using language features that may activate the leaner’s existing string of knowledge of concepts linked to new vocabulary. 4. Lastly, provide multiple instructional strategies on how to retain this new word knowledge with the aid of mental images, motions, visual aids, smells or tastes.

Some Instructional Activities to Try.

Instructional exercises add to the visual depiction of these new words while also providing learners with the chance to contrast new vocabulary to known vocabulary which is an effective way to boost a learner’s knowledge of vocabulary.

Instructional strategies include semantic word charts, word definition concepts, concept wheels, analyses of features and laying emphasis on how word relationships are useful in active processing of newly met vocabulary.

These instructional activities help students better their knowledge of words, familiarize with existing word-word and word-concept relationships, and in the end learn the meaning of this newly met word— and even use it. Instructional strategies may be employed before, during and after reading.

When used before reading, visual depictions of words help activate and build up concepts (that later prove important) before the reading, which helps motivate and set the mood of the reading task.

Concept Wheels/Circles.

Concept circles allow readers the chance to critically examine words and help students relate vocabulary conceptually to each another. This tactic builds on a learner’s past knowledge and fosters brainstorming triggering discussion and questioning of new vocabulary.

However, it is advisable when using this strategy to come up with pre-organized concept wheel with all sections for the new word; its definition; related vocabulary, and a relevant picture.


Webbing graphically illustrates to learners how to reasonably link word meanings and create connections between what they have learned about words and how they relate.

Webbing improves a student’s potential to have a visual perception of the link between words as well as concepts they have encountered in the past.

To help boost acquisition of concept and knowledge of vocabulary, the teacher may leave some space blank for the learner to fill. Learners can start inferring these words the web by picking out and discussing these words that can correctly complete the blank space.

The major difference between mapping and webbing and mapping is that webbing is freer association of vocabulary centered by learners whereas mapping is more of a teacher-driven process.

Webbing is used at the beginning of classes to determine learners’ vocabulary as well as concept knowledge or sum up a lesson that discusses through what learners have studied.

Semantic Mapping of Words.

Semantic mapping of words integrates several recommended vocabulary coaching guidelines including activation and re-construction of background knowledge encouraging learners to ask questions, learn word-word links and have a visual connections between newly acquired vocabulary and background concepts surrounding a word.

This strategy organizes information allowing students to see the link between new vocabulary, concepts, as well as their background knowledge. It is more of a diagram that groups concepts that relate to one another with the help of a graphic organizer helping learners visually see the link between concepts.

Other Research-Backed Word-Learning Tactics.

Learners must employ several independent vocabulary-learning techniques. These techniques include thorough instructions and engage learners to actively internalize the meanings of words, existing relationships among vocabularies, and contextual use.

This level of instructions can have an impact on comprehension if applied to word-learning.

1. Learner-Friendly Definitions.

Educators must explain the meaning of any new word instead of just issuing a dictionary description of it. Here’s how to ensure learner-friendly definitions;

• Illustrate the word and states is typical use.

• Clarify the word’s meaning with ordinary language that the student can relate to

At times, a vocabulary’s natural context as seen in writing is not helpful in deducing its meaning. Teachers must, therefore, create instructional contexts that offer strong clues to a vocabulary’s meaning.

2. Define Words within Context.

Studies show that introducing vocabularies and easy-to-comprehend explanations increases the mastering and knowledge of those words.

It is better to check for a simplified explanation of the word the moment you meet new words.

On the one hand, students that struggle to get meaning from texts have fewer encounters with words in schools; therefore, they cannot merely depend on context to infer what unfamiliar words may mean. On the other hand, skilled readers have the skills to put together information during the reading process as they construct meaning.

How to Assess the Knowledge of Words and Vocabulary Brilliance.

Learning a new word or another meaning to a known word is a systematic process. Readers get meanings of unfamiliar words depending on how the new word links to other concepts and words that they have learned before.

So how can an educator assess the knowledge of words and vocabulary brilliance of a learner? Well, looking for each of the following can help you understand how far you student has gone.

1. Fluency

Task: Can the learner read text accurately, fast, and show the meaning of the words in expression? If yes, then he/she can now not only recognized words but also comprehend their meanings.

Remedy: Regular practice in all the above exercises will eventually lead to fluency.

2. Vocabulary.

Task: Can the learner make sense out of the words he/she hears, learn or see in print? Can he use these words to make sense too?

Remedy: Practice vocabulary progressively, starting from the most straightforward noun (item) and (verb) words in surrounding each time stressing on what a word means. After the student has learned a specific set of words, introduce the next set of more technical words this time.

3. Spelling.

Task: Can the learner spell the words he/she knows?

Remedy: a learner’s performance on spelling is based on the understanding that separate speech sounds (phonemes) make up words and that the individual or combinations of letters represent these sounds.

4. Comprehension.

We read to comprehend. Good readers think actively during the reading process. A student must have the right knowledge to benefit from the contribution of contextual clues linked to the meanings of the words and comprehend the meaning of texts. Students must also learn how the meanings of these words combine to make communication possible.

Task: Can the learner use experiences and knowledge of the universe world, words, language structure, and reading skills to make sense of print.

Remedy: Read simple texts to learner and explain what each word means. Listen to them read and ask them what meaning they get from the reading.


Scholars unanimously agree that knowledge of words a primary part of successful reading. The ability to identify words, knowledge of vocabulary knowledge, and the inherent ability to comprehend what a text is all about are critical components of a reading program that can said to be balanced.

Reading guidance that lay emphasis on development of student vocabulary in improving ability to deduce meanings and better understand a script. There is a visible mutual link between knowledge of vocabulary and comprehension of texts.

As the learner’s vocabulary improves, the capacity to comprehend whatever text they read keeps growing. Moreover, with increased comprehension abilities, readers also boost their new word-learning skills and what these words may mean in different context.

Vocabulary teaching practices and strategies enable readers that struggle to get meaning from text link between previous experiences and freshly acquired concepts which is critical for reading development.

It is an alert teacher’s work in the class to ensure all types of learners make associations and are able to connect their background concepts with newly met vocabulary in the texts and stories that they meet.

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