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Research shows that instruction focusing on increasing vocabulary helps to improve reading comprehension and expressive language skills. The following references support targeting this skill in your therapy or classroom setting.
Baker, S., Simmons, D.C., & Kameenui, E.J. Vocabulary acquisition: Synthesis of the research. National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators, Retrieved October 9, 2006 from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED386860&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED386860.
Johnson, C. J., Ionson, M. E., & Torreiter, S. M. (1997). Assessing children's knowledge of multiple meaning words. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, V. 6 , N. 1, 77-86.
Hirsch, E.D. (2003). Reading comprehension requires knowledge of words and the world: Scientific insights into the fourth-grade slump and the nation's stagnant comprehension scores. American Educator, 10-45.
Nash, M., & Donaldson, M.L. (2005). Word learning in children with vocabulary deficits. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 439-458.
RAND Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for understanding: Toward an R&D program in reading comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. (2000) Retrieved September 28, 2006 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Report of the National Reading Panel. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/upload/smallbook_pdf.pdf.