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ERIC Number: EJ898727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 46
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Bridging the Vocabulary Gap: What the Research Tells Us about Vocabulary Instruction in Early Childhood
Christ, Tanya; Wang, X. Christine
Young Children, v65 n4 p84-91 Jul 2010
It is important for children to develop knowledge of words' meanings from a young age because vocabulary development has an impact on their reading comprehension and academic success as they get older. Some children come to school knowing far fewer words than others. Hart and Risley studied young children's vocabulary development and found that when children from families with low incomes were 3 years old, they knew 600 fewer words than children the same age from families with upper incomes. By grade 2, the gap widens to about 4,000 words. These facts heighten the need to purposefully teach vocabulary in early childhood, especially in programs serving children from low-income households. This review identifies effective ways for teachers to help young children learn new word meanings. First, the authors discuss factors that affect young children's vocabulary development. Then, they present four research-based vocabulary teaching practices for early childhood classrooms: providing purposeful exposure to new vocabulary, intentionally teaching word meanings, teaching word-learning strategies, and giving children opportunities to use newly learned words. They conclude by offering classroom tips on vocabulary instruction based on their review of the research.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A