There has been concerted focus in education and educational research regarding the importance of vocabulary development with students. Of the many convincing reasons for providing students with instruction to build vocabulary, none is more compelling than the direct role increased vocabulary development plays on reading comprehension, (Anderson & Freebody, 1981; Baumann, Kame'enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker, 1977; Davis, 1942; Whipple, 1925).
Isn't it amazing that research supporting vocabulary development dates back over 80 years. In 2000, the National Reading Panel concluded that comprehension development cannot be understood without a critical examination of the role played by vocabulary knowledge.
Given that students' success in school and beyond depends in great measure upon their ability to read with comprehension, there is a real urgency to provide instruction that equips students with the skills and strategies necessary for lifelong vocabulary development, (Heibert, Lehr & Osborn, 2004). This research, as well as the trend of a growing ELL population in our schools, has us paying particular attention to the vocabulary instruction in our own classrooms.
How can we expand our children's vocabulary in a way that will have a lasting effect -- not just remembering words until the vocabulary test is over? Can we influence how our students feel about words, imparting delight in learning new words and what they mean? As we worked with our students and developed the CAFE Menu in our classrooms, we discovered that one of the most effective ways to begin expanding our student's vocabulary, as well as help them learn to love words and their meaning, was merely through Tuning in to Interesting Words. Here is the Ready Reference Guide for this foundational strategy that is used in grades Kindergarten through 12.