Thursday, April 17, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Vocabulary

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

What a fantastic question. Truthfully, I just keep reading. Usually there's enough context for me not to miss the general meaning the author intends.

However, since I started helping adults with reading improvement, I've realized the great value in stopping to look it up. When my students are reading aloud to me, I can almost always tell when they don't understand a word. I encourage them to always always always ask me and if I can't explain it, we look it up together. Meaning is the very most important part of reading, and understanding the correct meaning will help your brain make the right predictions.

So I suppose I should practice what I preach and look up the words I don't know! It's funny, because once you do come across a word you don't know, and then you look it up...you will often run across it in a variety of contexts. It's like your brain just shuts it out when it doesn't know it. This happened to me several years ago with the word moribund. An English language student asked a friend about it and she had not idea what the word was. So we all looked it up and sure enough, I started noticing that word everywhere after that!

4 comments:

writer2b said...

I agree... Those word meanings are important. But as you say, what I preach and what I practice don't always (ever?) line up!

LisaMM said...

I'm a skipper.. I just skip right on by. Usually I can figure out by the context what it means.

euphrony said...

I look it up. But it almost never gets used in actual conversation because, well, so many people would be clueless as to what I had just said :)

Crystal M. said...

Most of the time, I go ahead and look up the word. I love dictionary.com. It's a great resource.

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