Vocabulary and Comprehension: How Are They Connected?

There is a direct correlation between vocabulary and comprehension. If you don’t understand a word, how it is used, what it is related to, you don’t comprehend it. Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, and use what you have read, heard, or seen. Words, otherwise known as vocabulary, are in everything: what you read, what you speak, what you listen to. Words are everywhere. So, to improve comprehension, we need to improve the vocabulary we use.

Vocabulary is often described as the knowledge-base of words and their meanings. This is the ‘go-to place’ in the memory system of the brain where comprehension takes place. We take in a word, process it, make associations with it, and file it into long-term memory. Once it is in long-term memory, it can be retrieved and used.

If you don’t have a large vocabulary to draw upon, comprehension becomes difficult. In fact, “lacking either adequate word identification skills or adequate vocabulary will ensure failure” (Biemiller, 2005). The Nation’s Report Card states, “Students who scored high in comprehension also scored high on vocabulary.” So, improving one improves the other. The more words you know (understand and can use appropriately), the better you comprehend.

How To Improve Vocabulary and Comprehension

Research states that vocabulary needs to be taught in a variety of ways for students to be able to use the words they learn at a later time.

  1. Direct instruction
  2. Repetition and multiple exposures
  3. Words must be useful so they can be used in multiple contexts

Apply the Research on Vocabulary and Comprehension

Teach new vocabulary:

  1. Use a story to model what the word means.
  2. Use the new word into a story or example that they have made up.
  3. Draw a picture or doodle a picture of what the words mean.
  4. Write the new word in a vocabulary notebook, keep your story example and picture with it.
  5. Engage in conversations using the new word every day for 5-10 days.
  6. Play games with the words.

The Summer Reading Program provides a variety of ways to improve vocabulary and thereby comprehension skills. Two specific activities are to draw a picture or doodle about what your read and playing the weekly card game. The card games rotate from word structure games that build vocabulary to specific vocabulary games that build word associations. Students learn and practice vocabulary in a relaxed game setting.  Eric Jensen, author of Brain-Based Learning, (1997) states, “Through visual and kinesthetic methods you’ll increase student performance.” Games do just that!

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Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

Rapid Naming: What is it? How does it Impact Reading?

Rapid naming, often referred to as RAN (Rapid Automatized Naming), is critical to reading skills. It is the aspect of phonologic processing that allows a person to automatically retrieve the names and sounds of letters, symbols, words, word chunks, sentences, and rhymes in a quick and effortless manner.

This ability to retrieve stored information rapidly is directly related to the type of process that one goes through when they are reading. I like to think of it in terms of being able to press the ‘easy button.’ In other words, it is so easy to bring information up it is like you don’t even have to think about it.

In order to make sense of the written word, a child or adult must be able to quickly access and retrieve stored phonemes and/or word or word chunks that are stored in memory.

Rapid Naming (Rapid Automatized Naming or RAN)

Rapid Naming directly correlates with processing speed. When you are able to improve your visual processing speed, you inherently improve your reading skills. If it takes you less time to be able to recognize a shape, letter, or word, you are able to read faster. If it takes you less time to do this, it also means that it takes less effort.

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) has been researched for close to three decades. The Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Test demonstrates that the majority of children and adults with reading difficulties have problems with rapid naming. In fact, they are slower to process even most familiar symbols and stimuli in the language: letters, numbers, colors, and similar objects.

Snyder and Downey (1995) report from the Denver Reading Study that the accuracy rates of those with reading difficulties and those with normal achieving readers were not significantly different. The only significant differences noted were reaction time and production duration; readers with reading difficulties had significantly longer reaction times and production durations.

Can You Improve Your Rapid Naming Skills?

You can use flash cards of different symbols, shapes, colors, letters, and numbers and have your kids say the name of the objects as you cycle through the cards. But, because we read from left to right, the best way to practice rapid naming is to have shapes, letters, numbers and/or symbols listed from left to right. This activity also helps improve reading fluency and visual tracking skills.

Announcing Rapid Naming Drills in Our Summer Reading Program

As of today, Thursday, June 14, we have just added rapid naming drills to our Summer Reading Program. These drills focus on simple symbols to call upon and to scan from left to right to work on your ability to automatically interpret the symbol as well as to work on your visual processing and tracking skills. This is just one part of our holistic approach to improving reading skills. Additionally, we also have included specific reading fluency drills. Registration is now open.

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Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

How Executive Function Skills Impact Reading

What are Executive Function Skills?

Executive function skills are part of our daily lives. These are the planning, organizing, and prioritizing skills that help you start a task and stay focused on it until completion. From doing your homework to planning a family vacation to building a sand castle, these skills are critical.

We don’t often think of the connection executive functions skills have with reading, but these skills also impact reading.

How Executive Function Impacts Reading

Any time you read:

  • You decide what you are going to read.
  • You decide when you are going to read.
  • You plan your reading to fit it into your day.

As you read a news story, an article, or a book, you constantly are using your executive functions skills by asking yourself:

  • Is this important?
  • Do I need to remember this?
  • What associations can I draw to the characters?
  • Do I have any personal life experiences that are relatable?

As you ask yourself questions about what you are reading as you are reading, it helps you retain, understand, and fully comprehend what you read. This is actually a component of executive function.

What reading processes are affected by executive function?

Your working memory and mental flexibility are activated by your executive function skills (asking yourself these questions, planning, and organizing your thoughts). Once you are able to organize your thoughts with your working memory and flexibility, you are able to act succinctly.

  • Vocabulary: helps you organize and categorize words to retain meaning
  • Grammar: helps you interpret content (the nuances and subtleties of the English language, for example: whether a group of words is a statement or a question)
  • Word and sentence emphasis: what words and sentences are important to gather meaning from (what type of mood or emotional context does the passage convey)

Executive function skills and working memory come into every aspect of reading. This includes retrieving word meaning and integrating that with prior knowledge and experience.

Your ability to maintain focus impacts your ability to read easily. Working memory comes into play by helping us to hold onto multiple bits of information in a paragraph as well as a story.

Executive Function Skills Build Foundational Reading Skills

Research by Laurie Cutting and George McCloskey has established the contributions of executive function to the reading process. Executive function skills work directly with working memory. If you improve your executive function skills, your reading comprehensions skills will naturally improve. There are specific activities for different age groups that strengthen executive function and reading skills.
Summer Reading Program 2018

Summer Reading Program Includes Executive Function Activities

We included executive function activities in our Summer Reading Program because of this direct connection. As executive function skills improve, reading skills improve.

The Summer Reading Program is for 1st through 8th graders. Every student can boost their reading skills.

Learn more about our Summer Reading Program here.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.

What can a Summer Reading Program do for your child?

A summer reading program can make the difference in your child’s future success. What if your child could make a 30% jump in their reading skills? What about 40 or 50%?

A parent just wrote me regarding her son. In a matter of three weeks, he had a 600% increase in his fluency, from 18 words per minute to 108 words per minute. Summer break is upon us, the perfect time to help your children get a ‘leg up’ on their learning.

Bonnie Terry Learning’s Summer Reading Program can be perfect for readers of all levels, whether they are at, above, or below reading proficiency for their grade level. It not only incorporates the five tenets of reading, but it focuses on improving the processes of how people learn. When your areas of visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic perception are working as well as possible, it makes learning and reading easier for you.

This program also benefits those with dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities, or other reading struggles. It is specifically designed to help those that are either behind in reading, struggle with reading, or just want to boost their reading skills.

What Should a Summer Reading Program Include?

One of the most important things to look for in a summer reading program is that it has fun activities but also includes the five tenets of reading. The five tenets are the principles of reading instruction. If these principles are included, you will see progress in reading.

Our Summer Reading Program Include All Five Tenets of Reading:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

What are each of these five tenets of reading?

  • Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words.
  • Phonics is using the awareness of sounds and matching the sounds to the letter symbols.
  • Fluency is the ability to retrieve words effortlessly.
  • Vocabulary is the group of words you know and use effectively.
  • Comprehension is the ability to understand, analyze, synthesize, and use what you have read.

Our Summer Reading Program Also Include:

  • Spelling
  • Executive Function Lessons
  • Brain Balance Body Integration Lessons
  • Video and Audio Lessons
  • Weekly Calendar

Our program is a holistic approach to improving learning reading skills. By incorporating more than just the five tenets of reading, greater progress can be made.

What Parents Say About The Summer Reading Program for Struggling Readers

One component of the Summer Reading Program made a big difference for Brenda Prince. She says:

“I’ve been using the program with my ten-year-old special needs son who is reading below grade level and I can say that there has been a vast improvement as to his performance on each drill, both in his mastery of reading the words on the list as well as the number of words he reads each time. For example, his first attempt at Drill One which consists of Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words with the short a sound, he read eighteen words in the minute time frame but missed seven of those words. Over a period of three weeks, he was able to increase his speed to one hundred and eight words per minute and correctly pronouncing all of those words. When we moved on to subsequent drills, I noticed that he did much better, even on his first attempt at reading the word list.”

 

Janine Franks says:

“Thanks so much for the help you have given us. One of my sons was quite dyslexic in reading but after using your system, I rarely notice any sign of it. He actually enjoys reading now. He´s read Narnia on his own!”

 

Learn more about our Summer Reading Program here.

Be sure to sign up for the program.

Summer Reading Program 2018

Who Is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET is the author of Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, Ten Minutes To Better Study Skills and numerous others books, reading games, and guides and the Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. She is a Board Certified Educational Therapist and internationally recognized as America’s Leading Learning Specialist and the founder of BonnieTerryLearning.com. Terry is an expert in identifying students’ learning disabilities. Ms. Terry coaches teachers and parents so they can give their child a 2 to 4-year learning advantage in just 45-60 minutes a day. She is a frequent media guest and speaker.