chapter  4
12 Pages

A Comprehensive Approach to Vocabulary Learning

OK, the situation for those teaching vocabulary is not as bad as it is for those entering Dante’s Inferno. We have tried to be realistic about vocabulary, but we did not want to make the task of teaching word meanings to seem im­ possible. We hope it is clear by now that increasing students’ reading vocab­ ularies is a complex and difficult matter. We have gone over the difficulties and complexities in some detail. The point was not simply to make the situ­ ation look bleak-although a realistic appraisal of the difficulty is a good starting place. Showing the seriousness of the problem may serve as a moti­ vation to work harder at increasing students’ vocabularies. However, more important than working harder is working smarter. In describing each of the difficulties, we intended to foreshadow the solutions,

As we turn now to the task of laying out the solutions, the first point we want to make is that there is no simple solution. We have spelled out many reasons why growing students’ vocabularies can be difficult, and each of these reasons must be addressed in some way.