Visuals and Vocabulary


Not knowing the meaning of a word while reading is a common occurrence in school particularly when the students are at the stage when they are “reading-to-learn” as opposed to “learning-to-read.” As mentioned in the previous blog post, it is within this “reading to learn” stage that Tier 2 vocabulary becomes prominent. Tier 2 vocabulary’s significance lies in its foundational framework for reading comprehension. Research shows that looking up the word in a dictionary alone is not enough for the student to grasp an in depth understanding of the word (Wise, Sevcik, Morris, Lovett, & Wolf, 2007). An in depth understanding would give the students the tools to manipulate and use the word in a novel way such as in conversation or in writing.

Marzano (2009) provided a list of methods that targeted methods to provide a deeper understanding of novel vocabulary words to increase both receptive and expressive language skills. One of the most important methods involved having “students construct a picture, pictograph or symbolic representation of the word.” InferCabulary Pro not only emphasizes this particular aspect of vocabulary but takes it to another level by providing contexts associated with the pictures through captions and has interactive games that reinforce a word’s meaning.

As a speech-language pathologist who often incorporates vocabulary goals into her sessions, visuals are an important component of vocabulary learning particularly for students with language disorders. Visuals take away the language component that would normally be associated with a word and its definition. InferCabulary Pro provides a visually exciting means of accessing and inferring meaning of words commonly found in the curriculum.

Marzano, R. J. (2009). The art and science of teaching: Six steps to better vocabulary instruction. Educational leadership67(1), 83-84.

Wise, J. C., Sevcik, R. A., Morris, R. D., Lovett, M. W., & Wolf, M. (2007). The relationship among receptive and expressive vocabulary, listening comprehension, pre-reading skills, word identification skills, and reading comprehension by children with reading disabilities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research50(4), 1093-1109.