Vocabulary for non-fiction readers

One of the objectives of reading is to help readers develop vocabulary. Vocabulary is a special set of words in a field of knowledge. In the series of blogs, I explore the best ways to provide familiarity to vocabulary and enable readers to master it.

When reading nonfiction books, readers come across many vocabulary words. Understanding vocabulary words helps readers unpack the meaning and establish the context of the work. Mastery or familiarity with vocabulary words is important for understanding the right context for growing with the new information provided.

Vocabulary words are dense. Each word can pack a lot of information, sometimes an entire scientific concept is often wrapped up in a single word. For example, the word Research Question is both a concept and a question. Readers are expected to understand that the question is specific to a scientist in the context they are seeking to find an answer. A Research Question is important part of scientific method.

A Research Question guides a scientist’s experiment. The Research Question can be framed in several different ways. A strong Research Question addresses all the three aspects of a phenomenon related to what, when and how as shown below…

  1. What happens when…
  2. When I change…
  3. How does…affect…?

A Research Question can start on any one of these points. A well framed Research Question answers all the three questions.

However, many readers will fail to deconstruct Research Question, both as a new word and the inclusive concept folded into it. Whenever a new vocabulary word is encountered, a reader has one of the four responses as shown below—

These different responses also represent the vocabulary level of the student. Each of these levels require each student to have different strategies to enhance or boost the vocabulary of the students. Reading books that are rich in vocabulary words is a good beginning. With training and instruction, when the vocabulary word Research Question (or other) vocabulary words are introduced, a reader is expected to know the context in which the concept is presented.

Here are some book series for early readers that will give them opportunities to explore the vocabulary words more closely.

Mountains book
Rani Iyer , Mountains
Planet Earth: Desert
Rani Iyer, Desert
Planet Earth, Rani Iyer
Forests by Rani Iyer
Planet Earth, Rivers and Lakes
Rani Iyer, Rivers and Lakes
Planet Earth, Poles
Rani Iyer, Poles








In the next few blogs, will be focused on instructions strategies to unpack the meaning in vocabulary.

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