10-second review: Summary of RayS’s suggested program for vocabulary development in middle school and high school.
Title: “Building Word Knowledge.” Raymond Stopper. Teaching English, How To…. Xlibris. 2004.
Vocabulary development is important because a knowledge of words increases the range of ideas available to people, enriching their personalities; because a knowledge of words is related to IQ; because a knowledge of words is vital to skilled communication in writing and speaking; and because a knowledge of words is essential to comprehension of reading material. Words are both ideas and the sources of ideas.
Generally speaking, vocabulary development is a cumulative process. Vocabulary grows slowly, gradually increasing as a result of reading, taking the time to note the context and to look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary, checking the etymology and reducing the definition to two or three words, whether recorded on index cards or in your memory.
True, Norman Lewis’s Word Power Made Easy does provide knowledge of great numbers of words in short periods of time, words that are useful and, because of Lewis’s techniques, easily remembered. But even Lewis’s book will not take the place of consistent vocabulary growth gained through learning unfamiliar words when reading. RayS.