Meaning vocabulary is a term that describes how people learn the meaning of words. Children can learn the meanings of words by using context clues, word part instruction and graphic organizers. Meaning vocabulary entails words for which their meanings are understood and it is an important component of comprehension. Direct instruction in meaning vocabulary is essential. If vocabulary is not developed, children will be unprepared to handle vocabulary demands of content-area subjects. Its significance is also displayed in comprehension and interaction with others. Meaning vocabulary helps to build social skills, confidence and self-esteem in children. It also enables children to use context clues to decipher word meaning. It helps children to construct more interesting stories and to communicate effectively with their peers and just about anyone with whom they interact. The more words they know, the more aptly they will be able to communicate their knowledge and feelings to others.
The term Meaning Vocabulary entails how individuals learn the meaning of words. Therefore, in an effort to facilitate meaning vocabulary one can employ the use of Word Part Instruction, Context Clues and Graphic Organizers.
Graphic Organizers– enable individuals to visualize the relationships between words and their possible meanings. This involves the use of semantic maps and word webs, which can help students to organize ideas. A graphic organizer may be used to allow the students to tell the first things that come to mind when they hear a particular word. Lets take for example, the word “ENERGY.”
Present Vocabulary in Context- This strategy may be used in storytelling. First, contextualize the word within the story then have the students say the words. After that, provide the children with a student friendly explanation of the word, then present examples of the word used in contexts different from the story context. After this is completed, engage the children in activities that get them to interact with the words then read them the story.
For example, the word “on” could be place on the chalkboard and have the students repeat the word. Then, show them a picture of a ball on a table and ask them the position of the ball in relation to the table. After which you would tell them the meaning of on. Next, you would use the word “on” in different sentences, e.g. Put the pot on the stove. Or, Did you put on your socks? The next step is an activity which will allow using the word. So, you could place a mat on the floor and ask a student to step on it, the class will try to identify using sentences, when he is on the mat and when he is on the floor. Once they have gotten familiar with the word, you then read the story to the class. This activity will allow them to fully understand the meaning behind the story.