The Importance of Early Vocabulary for Literacy Achievement in High-Poverty Schools
DOI: 10.1080/10824660802427710
Title: The Importance of Early Vocabulary for Literacy Achievement in High-Poverty Schools
Journal Title: Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR)
Volume: Volume 13
Issue: Issue 4
Publication Date: November 2008
Start Page: 426
End Page: 451
Published online: 4 Nov 2008
ISSN: 1082-4669
Affiliations:
a Department of Language and Literacy Wheelock College ,
b Department of Human Development and Psychology Harvard Graduate School of Education ,
Abstract: Although research documents a key contribution of print skills to early literacy, vocabulary and other language skills also provide an important foundation. Focusing on a sample of several hundred low-income children in 16 urban schools that were implementing literacy interventions, 1st-grade predictors of literacy development were traced over time. Beginning-of-1st-grade letter–word identification and word attack skills were the strongest predictors of reading comprehension at the end of 1st grade. However, vocabulary was the best predictor of reading comprehension at the end of 2nd and 3rd grades. The predictive power of early print-related and phonemic-awareness skills diminished over time, yet vocabulary scores remained an important predictor. Results support an early emphasis on developing meaning skills to prepare low-income children for success in literacy.

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