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Chapter 7 – Vocabulary

Chapter Summary

In the early years before school, in preschool and in school it is very important for children to experience a broad vocabulary as it is beneficial for conceptual and linguistic learning and performance. By the time children begin school, they have a large vocabulary of words. By the end of the second year of school, there is a widening gap in children’s vocabulary. Children’s vocabulary knowledge is closely related to both listening and reading comprehension. Vocabulary provides the foundation for grammatical knowledge, listening comprehension and later reading comprehension. We can all be word hunters as new words are found every day. Join the hunt!

Study Questions

Main ideas

Why is vocabulary important in early literacy?
Explain the three tiers for selecting which words to teach.
Where are children most likely to learn new words?

Application to a developmental stage

Choose a word new to a group of children you might teach. Outline the steps you would take to teach this word so that children remember the word and the definition.

Diverse learners

What could you do to raise parents’ and carers’ awareness of the importance of increasing children’s vocabulary?


Explain how you could assess children’s vocabulary development at the beginning and end of a project on plants we eat.

Teaching plans

Choose a picture book, or a fiction or non-fiction book and explore the book for Tier 2 vocabulary for the age group you are working with. How would you teach these words? How many words would you teach before reading the book to the group?