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Vocabulary Acquisition: A Literature Review

  • What is vocabulary?
  • How is it acquired?
  • What does it mean to “know” a word?
  • What are the roles of incidental learning and explicit teaching?

These and many other questions are addressed in this literature review.

There are several suggestions for teaching vocabulary leading to independent use of vocabulary strategies.  Four key strategies are described:

  1. phonemic knowledge
  2. guessing from context
  3. morphemic analysis
  4. dictionary use.

Natalie Kirton is a literacy co-ordinator and facilitator with TEAM Solutions at the Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland.