The Need for Intensified Vocabulary Instruction

Current reports on the proficiency of adolescent students paint a troublesome portrait of their reading abilities. Two decades of research have spotlighted vocabulary knowledge as the critical underpinning for the comprehension of both spoken and written language, with general vocabulary being the single best predictor of reading comprehension.

According to data from the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report, The Nation’s Report Card: Vocabulary Results From the 2009 and 2011 NAEP Reading Assessments:

  • Eighth-grade students performing above the 75th percentile in reading comprehension in 2011 also had the highest average vocabulary score.
  • Lower-performing eighth-graders at or below the 25th percentile in reading comprehension had the lowest average vocabulary score.

Adolescent students require dynamic, explicit, systematic instruction in word meanings to bridge their vocabulary gaps. Word Intelligence provides this level of instruction and strives to bring struggling 6–9 grade students’ vocabulary knowledge—thereby impacting comprehension—up to grade level.

The Research Base for Word Intelligence

Word Intelligence encompasses the following research-proven components necessary for effective vocabulary instruction:

  • Explicit teaching with student-friendly definitions
  • Contextualized examples of target vocabulary words
  • Multiple and repeated exposures to the target words
  • Explicit checks for understanding

Word Intelligence is the outcome of four years of applied, classroom-based research. The research and development reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grants R305B070688 to California State University, Long Beach, and R305B070016 to Stanford University. Data analysis was provided by SRI International of Menlo Park, California.

Researchers who contributed to Word Intelligence