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.

Phonemic Awareness: What is it? How does it relate to reading?

Phonemic awareness combines the auditory and visual components of reading. It is the ability to understand sound structure. When we receive information through our senses, seeing, hearing, and doing, we use phonemic awareness to recognize words, phrases, and sentences. It is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds. When we typically hear or read a word or a word part, we don’t often think in terms of the different sounds that are combined to make the word. Building these recognition skills of the sounds and components that make up words directly improves reading skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the five tenets of reading.

Components of Phonemic Awareness

Phoneme blending: Children listen to a sequence of separately spoken phonemes and then combine the phonemes to form a word. /d/ /o/ /g/ is dog. (This is the process used in decoding words.)

Phoneme segmentation: Children break a spoken word into its separate phonemes. There are four sounds in truck: /t/ /r/ /u/ /k/. (This is the process used in spelling words phonetically: “invented spelling.”)

Phoneme/Grapheme Correspondence: This is the sound/symbol relationship which also deals with visual memory. You teach which sounds are represented by which letter(s), and how to blend those letters into single-syllable words and then multi-syllable words.

Phonemic awareness instruction can help beginning and more advanced readers alike.

When You Improve Phonemic Awareness, You Inherently Improve Your Spelling, Reading, and Even Note-Taking

Phonemic awareness is one of the foundational pieces of reading. Bridging phonemic awareness with phonics is your ability to use that awareness and match the sounds to the symbols. These are two pieces of the five tenets of reading. Combining and improving your phonemic awareness and phonics also improves your ability to listen effectively and even take notes from a lecture.

The 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.

Phonics: More than matching the sounds with the symbols!

If students know the structure of how we put letters together to make words, the spelling (vowel) patterns, they can spell thousands of words. Your ability to see the patterns within words helps them to not only know what they are they are looking at but also know what sound the vowels will make. Conversely, when they hear a vowel sound, they’ll know how the syllable must be spelled to make that sound.

Playing with words, individual components of words as well as the vocabulary (meaning) of words expand a student’s ability to read, comprehend, and spell unfamiliar words. Our Summer Reading Program uses these specific strategies to improve reading skills effectively.

Areas of Auditory Processing

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.

6 Benefits of Summer Reading Programs

Benefits of summer reading programs are well documented. In fact, summer reading programs have been around for more than a century, and they continue on because of their great benefits. Summer reading programs come in all shapes and sizes from online reading and answering questions to reading library books, to 4-hour per day programs, to online-delivery family participation programs that build family time fun activities into the program.

The 6 Benefits of Summer Reading Programs

  • Improve Reading Skills
  • Increase Desire to Read
  • Improve Self-Esteem
  • Neutralize Summer Learning Loss
  • Improve Comprehension
  • Improve Memory Skills

Overall, summer reading programs really do improve kids’ reading skills and increase their desire to read. Additionally, according to the School Library Journal, those who participate not only mitigate any summer learning loss, but they even show gains. Most kids develop an interest in reading, improve their comprehension, and further develop their memory skills. Reading content material even becomes more interesting.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for the Best Benefits of Summer Reading Program

Are the five tenets of reading included?

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

Is the Summer Reading Program Flexible?

  • Can you work the summer reading program on your time frame or are you tied to specific times of day?
  • Do you need to travel to the program?
  • Does the program offer a variety of reading activities including games or is it just reading and answering questions?
  • Is the program labor intensive?

Is the program based on your child’s reading level or on their grade level?

  • If your child is above grade level, can you start them there, or do they need to do their grade level activities?
  • If your child is below grade level or way below grade level, can you start them at their current level and level up from there?

Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading Program allows kids to be kids and gives them the foundational skills in a holistic approach. This online-delivered program is one where families work together and play together as they improve their reading skills not just in school, but in life.

Learn more about Bonnie Terry’s Summer Reading Program.

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.

The Brain-Body Connection and the Vestibular System: How does it relate to Reading?

The brain and body work together as a machine. This machine is designed to move through space efficiently. Vision is involved with walking and maintaining balance. Additionally, arms and legs swing, counterbalancing each other. The hips and buttocks stabilize the body. A person with good vision can see and read a sign that is 20 feet away while walking. The eye needs to be very stable in space. Together, the neck and vestibular system stabilize and refine the head and vision system.

The brain-body connection and the vestibular system are central to learning and processing information. The vestibular system is the sensory system that is the lead contributor to your sense of balance and spatial orientation. This system sends signals to the neural structures that control eye movement. The vestibular system helps us to focus our perception of objects and words. This is the system that helps us interact with the environment.

New neural connections are created whenever we throw or catch a ball, ride a bike, or even learn to read. When you input new information through your senses, your brain interprets this information and forms new connections. This is the work of the higher brain, the part of the brain that allows us to sense and understand the world around us.

During the process of walking, the vestibular system is activated. Your ability to control your body’s movement happens with your nervous system, spinal cord, brain stem, cortex, reticular system, and the limbic system working together. Information is passed up and down the body through the spinal cord. When the specific actions are executed, the tactile, auditory, motor, and visual systems sense the actions. Once the actions are completed, the cortex processes the information and performs higher-order thinking from the information generated during the activity. The cortex provides feedback as well as updates the memory banks.

This is why the vestibular system is considered the entryway to the brain and is said to have the most important influence on everyday functioning. The vestibular system is “the unifying system that directly or indirectly influences nearly everything we do,” (Hannaford, 1995, p. 38).

How Are Reading Activities Impacted by the Brain-Body Connection?

So, the vestibular system is important to higher-order thinking, receiving and interpreting data. Think about this for a minute. We receive information from taste, smell, seeing, hearing, and doing (tactile/kinesthetic). Once we receive the information, the brain needs to interpret the data. So, when we receive input in terms of words, shapes, sizes, directions, and space, the vestibular system sifts through the information and helps to interpret it, sending it to specific areas of the brain to gain meaning.

Simply stated, the vestibular system and the brain-body connection directly impact your ability to receive and interpret information: words, sentences, paragraphs, stories. It allows us to see the shapes, sizes, and positions of letters in space. Additionally, this system helps you to visually scan words across a page to read fluently and accurately. Without the ability to scan words across a page quickly and accurately, reading is stilted and comprehension is lost. So, as we improve the vestibular system, the system of brain balance, reading improves.

Brain-Body Activities

Brain-body activities are typically movement activities that are fun for kids of all ages and are done in just a few minutes. Activities can be as simple as balancing on an exercise ball, doing a tree pose, or tossing bean bags. The sensory systems in our brain are all interconnected and when we develop them in different ways, it also helps improve our academic skills. Even NASA has done extensive research on how brain-body activities can impact our ability to learn. Our Summer Reading Program includes numerous brain balance activities to improve reading skills.

Who is Bonnie Terry?

Bonnie Terry 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 developing learning programs that target how people learn through the visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic processing systems. 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.

Learn more about the Summer Reading Program

4 Steps to Prevent the Summer Slide (Learning Loss)

Wait, you want to prevent the summer slide, slip-n-slide? No, not that type of slide. We like that type of slide! We’re talking about the learning loss that kids often experience by not being in school over the summer. This is commonly referred to as the summer slide.

Summer break is upon us. This is your time to make a choice for your child: make a difference in their reading experience or fall behind with the summer slide? Children can lose between two and four months of learning over the summer. Children that struggle can lose between four and six months of learning.

You can make a difference to not only prevent the summer slide but also improve your child’s skills. You can even have fun while helping your child improve their skills. They can improve their skills in as little as 30-60 minutes a day, so they can still have tons of free time.

Step 1 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Plan Your Days, Weeks, and Months

I know that planning might sound like a strange summer activity, but it is really important. I’m sure you’ve all heard the statement, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” This applies very aptly to what are you going to do over the summer to ensure your children don’t succumb to the summer slide. However, more importantly, this applies to your child’s ability to be a part of the planning process. Children don’t automatically wake up one day as they get older and know how to plan their priorities as well as their day.

During the school year, so much of a child’s life is planned for them, from the moment they get up, to going to school, to after-school activities, and then bedtime. Teaching planning skills and being part of the planning process over the summer is one of the first chances they really get to be involved in planning.

When you have a stake in the plan, in what you are doing for the day, week, month, or field trip activity helps you to also give you a sense of belonging and self-worth. So, this is why planning and executive function activities are part of our 2018 Summer Reading Program. This gives children a chance to experience and carry out planning in a non-stressful way. Additionally, the planning process actually does improve reading skills.

Step 2 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Take Family Field Trips

Plan family field trips or adventures on Fridays or over the weekend. Rally together as a family and decide where you want to go. Let everyone speak up and ask even the youngest for their ideas. You don’t have to go far on your trips. Open up a map or search Google to find different parks, businesses, or museums that you haven’t been. This research phase can be a great part of the process of discovering where you want to go. Open up a calendar and plan out what days you can go where.

Then, to help your kids retain the wonderful experiences they are having, it is important to help them to process the activity. An easy way to do that is to have them write simple summary paragraphs about where you went and what they liked or didn’t like about the excursion. It is great to use fill-in-the-blank graphic organizers to help them with this. We have specially designed graphic organizers in our summer reading program.

Taking the important step of processing what they have done in a written format increases your children’s ability to make multiple connections with the activity. This increases comprehension in a multiple of ways. This will also give your children an enlarged memory bank of background knowledge to bring to any reading activity they do in the future.

Step 3 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Improve Reading Skills

summer slide reading fluencyOne of the most important things you can do to boost reading skills is to improve reading fluency. In our summer reading program, you will get our specially designed reading drills to improve your reading speed and accuracy. This part of the program just takes 5 minutes a day. Daily, short fluency training can make a huge difference in improving reading skills over the summer.

Learn about the 2018 Summer Reading Program

Step 4 to Prevent the Summer Slide: Enroll in the Summer Reading Program

We provide the framework, the overarching summer weekly schedule and even teach your kids how to plan their free time. Then we provide the video and audio lessons, reading material, and fun activities so your kids have a little bit of content work and then have the rest of the day to do whatever they want to.

The 6-Week Summer Reading Program includes:

  • Reading Fluency
  • Spelling
  • Comprehension
  • Phonics
  • Executive Function
  • Brain Balance Body Connection Activities
  • Video and Audio Lessons
  • Weekly Schedule
  • Easy Online Access
  • Help and Support

The difference is amazing. Sign up for our Summer Reading Program.

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.