Episode 11:Teach the Babies Vocabulary

For years, I focused on teaching my striving readers phonics. My hypothesis was, if I teach the babies phonics, then they will read better. However, I’m learning more and more that it’s not about phonics so much as it is about vocabulary.

“Vocabulary is a critical  factor in the development of reading skills. Vocabulary knowledge has long been identified as one of the best predictors of reading comprehension, reading performance in general, and school achievement” (Lane and Allen, 2010).

In this podcast episode, you will hear me promote incidental learning and word consciousness with deliberate modeling of sophisticated vocabulary. I used the poem entitled, the “Word Hunter’s Collection” by Judith Nicholls. Scott, Skobel, and Wells (2008) suggested that teachers use this poem to introduce students to the world of words. In this episode, notice how the students are engaged in a rich discussion about words.


Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes.

Lane, H. B. and Allen, S. A. (2010), The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom: Modeling Sophisticated Word Use to Promote Word Consciousness and Vocabulary Growth. The Reading Teacher, 63: 362–370. doi:10.1598/RT.63.5.2

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