Flooding Vocabulary Gaps to Accelerate Word Learning


  • Edna Brabham,

  • Connie Buskist,

  • Shannon Coman Henderson,

  • Timon Paleologos,

  • Nikki Baugh


Students entering school with limited vocabularies are at a disadvantage compared to classmates with robust knowledge of words and meanings. Teaching a few unrelated words at a time is insufficient for catching these students up with peers and preparing them to comprehend texts they will encounter across the grades. This article presents children's literature and research-supported activities that can accelerate vocabulary acquisition by immersing children in semantic clusters to build knowledge of abstract concepts and individual words representing the concepts. These methods are efficient as well as effective and have the potential to increase breadth and depth of word learning for students with less and more rich vocabularies.