5 Core Components of Reading - Vocabulary

Hey There!

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This month we’ve been talking all about the 5 Core Components of Literacy. Today, we wanted to jump into an extremely important and yet often overlooked part of literacy instruction.


Vocabulary instruction is critical for two reasons!

  1. It supports reading comprehension

  2. It helps students determine whether or not they’ve read a word correctly.

As I’m sure you know if you follow us, we strongly believe in the fact that these skills actually need to be taught. We need to explicitly explain to students that when we are reading - the first step is determining how to say all the sounds in the word and the second step is creating a picture in our head of the meaning of the words.

Many students have learned to lackadaisically go through reading without self-monitoring for comprehension at all. By requiring them to stop and think about whether or not they an accurately define words we are helping them pause and self-monitor their understanding.

Often we have students who will say things like “well, I know what it is but I can’t explain it” which is a problem and so we need to provide them with a framework to explain it. We teach our students that they must be able to:

  1. Identify words they don’t know by highlighting them in a word list, sentence, or passage

  2. Define all other words using our vocabulary framework

So what exactly is this vocabulary framework?

So glad you asked, we want students to be able to define a word by providing its category, function, and providing a synonym or shade of meaning for the word. We use this graphic organizer to help organize our students thinking about words.

When we have students that tell us they know all of the words, we will challenge them a bit by giving them words within the word list, sentence, or passage that they need to be able to run through this framework - if they can do it, amazing!!! If not, they need to reflect on why they missed highlighting that word when we asked which words they knew versus which words they did not know.

Check out our video here where we explain this concept in even more detail! And click >>here<< or on the image above to grab our free vocabulary graphic organizer!!!

Corey PollardComment