A deep and rich vocabulary is strongly correlated with proficiency in reading and success in school and life. Early vocabulary learning takes place orally – as children hear and begin to say words. However, as children grow and attend school, vocabulary development shifts from what they hear to what they read. It is more difficult to learn new written vocabulary than it is to learn oral vocabulary, particularly for struggling readers and people with dyslexia, poor working memory, or other language difficulties.

Why is a Good Vocabulary Important?A good vocabulary is like a well stocked toolbox.

An extensive vocabulary can be compared to a toolbox full of tools. Equipped with a vast vocabulary, a student can read, speak, and write with precision — much like a craftsprson with an extensive array of tools can perform almost any task.

A strong vocabulary positively impacts all of the following:

How We Teach Vocabulary at Syllables Learning Center

At school, students often are given 20 unrelated vocabulary words to study each week. Students are tested on Friday, and the words are quickly forgotten. At Syllables Learning Center, we teach hundreds of words at a time with little extra effort using morphemes (meaning), etymology (origin) and phonology (phonics rules). We teach prefixes, suffixes and roots in a way that allows students to analyze words and transfer their knowledge to new words, thus expanding their vocabulary exponentially.

If a student knows that ‘form’ means ‘shape’ and ‘uni’ means ‘one,’ he can extrapolate the meaning of ‘uniform.’ He is accumulating the building blocks for words: each morpheme (unit of meaning) unlocks hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of words.

For example, the word matrix below shows many words that can be made from the root ‘ject’:

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©Pete Bowers

At Syllables Learning Center, we teach our students how to approach morphemes in a systematic, multi-step way to define and understand new words. This translates not only into a deeper understanding during reading, but also into a rich spoken and written vocabulary.

We also emphasize vocabulary for our students who come to us for SAT/ACT test prep. These students learn word origin, prefixes, suffixes and roots to understand and define new vocabulary words.