Nearly 100-years ago, a leading educational psychologist named Edward Thorndike performed a study that found students’ reading speed and comprehension test scores were directly linked to their vocabulary knowledge. Numerous studies since have concluded the same thing: the more words you know, the faster you will read, and the more you will comprehend.
The fact that your vocabulary will affect your reading speed and comprehension is a pretty intuitive concept – it only makes sense that the more words you know, the faster you will be able to read and recognize these words as well as comprehend the information you are reading.
Reading Comprehension IS Vocabulary Comprehension
To fully appreciate how important vocabulary is for reading comprehension perform the following exercise:
- Pick one of these sample SAT Reading Comprehension Tests.
- Scan the passage (before starting the test) and find words that are unfamiliar to you.
- Look up the words (Dictionary.com)
- Read the passage
- Take the test.
- Select another test
- Scan the passage as you did with the first test, but don’t look up any unfamiliar words.
- Take the test
- Compare the two scores
I bet you will find that you score higher on the first reading test then you do on the second.
Quick Tip: If you are reading eBooks, be sure to use the built-in dictionary on iBooks and Kindle – these enable you to quickly look-up word definitions, so you always fully comprehend the text you are reading. It’s also a great way to expand your vocabulary.
Written by Greg Ragland, President, CEO of CommEdge LLC producers of Vocabulary Zone and the corresponding Vocabulary Certifications: College Preparedness, Ph.D. Vocabulary and Executive Level Vocabulary