Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Students

Patricia F. Vadasy and J. Ron Nelson

Paperbacke-bookprint + e-book
February 6, 2012
ISBN 9781462502820
Price: $30.00 $25.50
190 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
February 16, 2012
ePub ?
Price: $30.00 $25.50
190 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $60.00 $33.00
190 Pages

Addressing a key skill in reading, writing, and speaking, this comprehensive book is grounded in cutting-edge research on vocabulary development. It presents evidence-based instructional approaches for at-risk students, including English language learners and those with learning difficulties. Coverage ranges from storybook reading interventions for preschoolers to direct instruction and independent word-learning strategies for older students. Guidance is provided on using word lists effectively and understanding how word features influence learning. The book also reviews available vocabulary assessment tools and describes how to implement them in a response-to-intervention framework.

“I was really impressed. It is a treasure trove of research on vocabulary instruction and well worth having as a reference and/or as a course textbook....The many strategies described in this book will definitely help strugglers.”

Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties

“This is one of the most comprehensive, accessible, and useful books on vocabulary in recent years. The authors apply key research on vocabulary development to practical considerations about how to improve vocabulary for struggling readers. What words should be featured in instruction? What are the best approaches for young children? What evidence-based approaches can be used for older struggling readers? What are recommended approaches for English language learners? This book will be useful both as a course text and as a primary reference for front-line teachers who are doing vocabulary instruction.”

—Richard K. Wagner, PhD, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Florida State University; Associate Director, Florida Center for Reading Research

“Current, conceptually sound, clearly written, and practical. The authors document and explain the interdependence of word form, structure, meaning, and use, and translate basic insights about word learning into detailed descriptions of direct and indirect vocabulary instruction. No important issue is left untreated. This book offers the most complete compilation and reviews available of word lists, instructional techniques, vocabulary programs, and vocabulary assessments. It will be an indispensable resource for teachers, curriculum and test designers, and researchers.”

—Louisa Moats, EdD, Moats Associates Consulting, Inc.

“Vadasy and Nelson’s synthesis of multiple research disciplines is highly advantageous. It is rare to find such a comprehensive collection of research and practice in one book. The authors do an excellent job of providing effective and practical information on vocabulary learning and vocabulary instruction that is inclusive of diverse learners. This book is truly a 'must have' for any prospective or practicing primary or secondary educator who teaches vocabulary.”

—Torri Ortiz Lienemann, PhD, differentiated learning coordinator, Norris School District, Firth, Nebraska

Table of Contents

1. Origins of Vocabulary Knowledge and Its Role in Reading Comprehension

2. Word Properties That Affect Vocabulary Instruction

3. Making Principled Decisions about Vocabulary Instruction

4. Early Approaches to Vocabulary Instruction

5. Evidence-Based Instructional Approaches for School-Age Children

6. Independent Vocabulary Learning Approaches

7. Vocabulary Assessment

8. Teaching Vocabulary to English Language Learners

About the Authors

Patricia F. Vadasy, PhD, is Senior Researcher at the Oregon Research Institute in Seattle, Washington. Her background is in early reading acquisition and instruction, instructional design, and intervention research. Dr. Vadasy oversees a research team investigating effective school-based literacy interventions for at-risk and struggling students. She has published numerous journal articles and instructional materials.
J. Ron Nelson, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research and over 150 publications have focused on serving children at risk of school failure and on research issues, and he has developed a number of behavior and literacy interventions. Dr. Nelson is a recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children.


Special educators and classroom teachers in grades PreK–8; reading specialists; students in special education and literacy.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in such courses as Development of Reading Comprehension, Remedial Reading Interventions, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Bilingual Education.