The Importance of Word Recognition in improving literacy.

ImageLiteracy is probably the single-most important part of education. Devoid of literacy, all other learning processes would be impossible. It involves using reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing to gain more knowledge. Without the ability to do any of these skills, there is absolutely no way to acquire more knowledge. Literacy is very crucial for learning as in schools Language Arts teachers are not the only ones who are stressing the importance of literacy. Despite the fact that the Language Arts teachers may be the only ones truly teaching literacy it is the job of all educators to smooth the progress of literacy learning. Literacy must come before any other learning can occur and we cannot grow as a society without literacy. In this essay the importance of word recognition and meaning vocabulary will be explained in the subsequent paragraphs.

Word recognition according to LINCS is “the ability of a reader to recognize written words properly and virtually effortlessly”. It is sometimes referred to as isolated word recognition because it involves a reader’s ability to recognize words individually from a list that is, without needed similar words for contextual help. With little effort word recognition is the main component of fluent reading and it can be improved by practicing with flash cards, lists, and word grids. Word recognition is important because it help individuals to read fluently and be able recognize words easily. For example, a teacher may use flash cards when executing his/her lesson in order for the students to recognize a variety of words and by using this method, wherever those students see those words they will effortlessly become familiar with them. Word recognition is also imperative because in order for a child to develop his/her vocabulary the child must be able to recognize words thus enabling them to use words confidently.


Some activities that can help to improve word recognition are:

1st Strategy

  • Context clues-

Context Clues is an effective method of word recognition since with the combination of other clues such as phonics and word parts accurately, word identification is possible. There is however, one downside to this strategy which is the fact that they may not be specific enough to effectively foresee the exact word. Never the less, it allows readers to crosscheck the words they have identified.

Context clues may be divided into 3 different types:

Semantic or Meaning Clues-

This involves the process where in reading a story, the child/ individual will develop an expectation of what types of words are expected which are associated with the topic. For example in reading about a dog, a student will expect that the story will contain words such as bark, tail and fur. There is also the sentence context clues “which are more specific.” Therefore, one might have a sentence “My dog likes to ________,” and given this sentence the students are able to fill in the things they already know about dogs such as play, eat, roll, bite, and bark.

Syntactic or Word Order Clues-

This involves the knowledge word order and the function of various words, there are three types:

  1. “Patterns and functions of words, e.g. His truculent criticism of your painting betrayed some jealousy. By looking at the position of the word, the reader can judge that the word modifies a noun and therefore it is an adjective. This can limit the choice of meaning he is going to make.”
  2. “Inflectional clues, e.g. Mrs. Ames scrounged around the empty lot for sharp objects. The inflection -ed shows that scrounged must be an action (a verb) indicating what Mrs. Ames did in the past.”
  3. “Markers. A verb marker (was, had, will, etc.), for example, indicates that a verb follows. A noun marker (the, a, an, etc.) shows that a noun follows, e.g. They were jubilating about his amazing recovery.”

Picture Clues-

This is where illustrations such as pictures and drawings are used to aid in the identification of words. Therefore, if there is a photo/picture of a dog leaping with an accompanied text, then the most possible word that would come to mind is jump.




2nd Strategy

  • Rhyming  and word family:

            Rhyming and Word Family is also an important strategy to enable word recognition. Firstly, it must be noted that words are grouped into families which share the same sounds and common letters. For example mop, shop, and top are a part of the same word family because they have “op” at the end. With this in mind, teachers can use r

hymes in games and also nursery rhymes to introduce and clarify word recognition. For example in the nursery rhyme “Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle..” the teacher can use the word “cat” to introduce words in that family such as “mat, sat, bat and rat,” while rhyming “cat.”

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Andayani,A,k .Semantic and Syntactic Clues as Vocabulary Strategies in Reading         Comprehension. Available at:    Retrieved 2013.

Elsworth,S. What Is the Difference Between Sight Vocabulary & Meaning Vocabulary?.           Available   at:vocabulary_.html#ixzz2NHMjoSYT. 1999.

Power,B. What Are the Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?. Available at: 2013.

Word Recognition Skills and Strategies. Available at: 1997

Wolf,L. Word Recognition Skills & Strategies. Available           at:            skills-   strategies.html#ixzz2NH4jLDNM. 2013.

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8 thoughts on “The Importance of Word Recognition in improving literacy.

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