Vocabulary instruction is as we have mentioned before at the heart of reading fluency. However, vocabulary is only one of 5 Pillars of Literacy. Each of these pillars has a primary purpose and cemented firmly together provide the learner a framework and foundation for literacy success.
- Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, which are the smallest part of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word “dog” into three distinct phonemes, requires phonemic awareness. This begins with learning the alphabet and each of it’s distinct sounds.
- Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing of the English language by developing learners’ phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes—in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them.
- Fluency is a speech language pathology term that means the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllables, words and phrases are joined together when speaking quickly.
- A person’s vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge.
- Comprehension is the ability to read text, process, and understand it. An individual’s ability to comprehend text is influenced by their traits and skills, one of which is the ability to make inferences. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what is read. There are a number of approaches to improve reading comprehension, including improving one’s vocabulary and reading strategies. (Wikipedia definitions)
Though several of these pillars have seemingly gotten more attention in the last few years, each of the five pillars is equally important in giving the learner the foundation for successful life long learning.