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Explicit vocabulary instruction is a crucial component to successful reading development. Acquiring vocabulary refers to knowing the meaning of words but ALSO to understanding the meaning of the words in relationship to the passage and context. As children move from learning to decode to developing reading comprehension, vocabulary accounts for the majority of variance in reading comprehension for students. Research has demonstrated that students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are often at a disadvantage in having the academic vocabulary necessary for school. Remember that students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds include English language learners, speakers of non-standard English dialects and those from other socio-economic groups. Some think that the SLP does not have a role in literacy instruction, that this is the role of the reading teacher. However, this module explains why the SLP is a key part of evidence based literacy development.
Stephanie Downey Toledo is a bilingual speech language pathologist in New York City as well as a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has collaborated with the LEADERS project on this module series and others.

Find the playlist for the full set of videos in this module series here:

Reading Development Playlist

Find each of the modules from this playlist here:

Reading Development Module 1: What does it mean to know a language? 

Reading Development Module 2: Role of the SLP in Literacy

Reading Development Module 3: Phonemic Awareness

Reading Development Module 4: Phonics 

Reading Development Module 5a: Myths About Vocabulary Instruction 

Reading Development Module 5b: Role of the SLP in Vocabulary Instruction 

Reading Development Module 6: Reading Fluency 

Reading Development Module 7: Reading Comprehension

Reading Development Module 8: Bilingual Considerations

Find resources used throughout this playlist here:

Word Generation 

Please find links to research mentioned in this module here:

Carver, R. P. (1994). Percentage of unknown vocabulary words in text as a function of the relative difficulty of the text: Implications for instruction. Journal of Reading Behavior, 26(4), 413–437.

Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (1997). Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. Developmental Psychology, 33(6), 934-945.

Garcia, E. (1991). Education of linguistically and culturally diverse students: Effective instructional practices. Educational practice report number 1. Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 338 099).

García, G. E., & Nagy, W. E. (1993). Latino students’ concept of cognates. In D. J. Leu & C. K. Kinzer (Eds.), Examining central issues in literacy research, theory, and practice. Chicago: National Reading Conference.

Graves, M. (2000). A vocabulary program to complement and bolster a middle-grade comprehension program. In B. M. Taylor, M. F. Graves, & P. van den Broek (Eds.)., Reading for meaning: Fostering comprehension in the middle grades (pp. 116–135). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Hart, B., & Risley, R. T. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Jiménez, R. T., García, G. E., & Pearson, P. D. (1996). The reading strategies of bilingual Latina/o students who are successful English readers: Opportunities and obstacles. Reading Research Quarterly, 31(1), 90-112.

Nagy, W. (1997). On the role of context in first- and second-language vocabulary learning. In: N. SCHMITT AND M. MCCARTHY, eds. Vocabulary: description, acquisition and pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nagy, W. E., Herman, P. A. & Anderson, R. C. (1985). Learning words from context. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 233–253.

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. (NIH Publication No. 00­4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Roberts, G., Torgesen, J. K., Boardman, A., & Scammacca, N. (2008). Evidence-based strategies for reading instruction of older students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23, 63-69.

Senechal, M., LeFevre, J., Thomas, E.M., & Daley, K.E. (1998). Differential effects of home literacy experiences on the development of oral and written language. Reading Research Quarterly, 33, 96-116.

Shu, H., Anderson, R. C., & Zhang, Z. (1995). Incidental learning of word meanings while reading: a Chinese and American cross-cultural study. Reading Research Quarterly, 30, 76–95

Stoller, F. & W. Grabe. (1995). “New Directions in Content-Based Instruction: A Six-Ts Approach.” Paper presented at TESOL Conference, Long Beach, CA.

Swanborn, M. S. L., & de Glopper, K. (1999). Incidental word learning while reading: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69, 261–285