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Ashfield Public School

Ashfield Public School

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Building a wide and appropriate vocabulary is fundamental to a student’s success. A rich vocabulary enables a student to communicate their ideas articulately and precisely. It also enables a student to develop a social disposition to interact with others, and to comprehend increasingly sophisticated concepts as they progress across the school years.

The acquisition of a vocabulary commences with the first word spoken by an infant. Vocabulary then grows exponentially with data showing that a child enters their first year of school knowing 5000 plus spoken words. Typically, as a child transitions from preschool to primary school, they can engage in conversation, understand time sequences, describe objects, and create stories.

At school, developing a student’s vocabulary is done systematically across the areas of speaking, writing, reading, and listening in all key learning areas. From Kindergarten onwards, students are taught to create and understand increasingly advanced spoken and written texts that progress from being simple, and predictable through to highly complex and nuanced. In each year level, students are taught to recognise known words in their written form and how to decode and pronounce unfamiliar words. They are taught to understand their meaning, to write them and use them to build their reading comprehension and language skills.

The more exposure a student has to a particular word in various contexts, the more likely that they will regularly access and use that word to communicate and think. Students with a wide and appropriate vocabulary experience expected or higher than expected growth and achievement, relative to their age, ability, and the expectations of the curriculum.

The development of a vocabulary correlates with a student’s increasing ability to make observations, inferences, and predictions, to explain concepts, think imaginatively and creatively and be capable of sophisticated and meaningful social interactions. Learning vocabulary is a continual process of language and literacy development, which begins in the early years of life, and continues through schooling and beyond.

A wide vocabulary enables students to capably communicate as adept individuals with the capacity to competently apply their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills to a particular situation to achieve a particular purpose or solve a particular problem. A wide and appropriate vocabulary translates into a deeper conceptual understanding and a broader knowledge base about the world, with students becoming self-motivated learners with the personal resources for ongoing success and wellbeing.

MOFAREH ALQAHTANI (2015). The importance of vocabulary in language learning and how to be taught. International Journal of Teaching and Education, Vol. III(3), pp. 21-34.

Rashid, M. H., Lan, Y., & Hui, W. (2022). The importance of vocabulary in teaching and learning in applied linguistics. Linguistics and Culture Review, 6(S2), 541-550.