Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Today’s frontier is knowledge. Brain has taken precedence over brawn; our physical struggle for existence has been replaced by intellectual struggle, and knowledge of words has become the most valuable tool for this struggle. Words are the very cornerstone of any language. With a good vocabulary, which indicates scope of knowledge, we can grasp the thoughts of others and be able to communicate our own thoughts to them. As Stahl (1999) argued, discussion of words is discussion of knowledge of the world, and knowledge of the world is knowledge of who we are and where we stand in the world. Also, the importance of words in foreign and second language learning is beyond question. Vocabulary knowledge is one of the language skills crucial for fluent language use (Nation, 1993). Vocabulary size is an indicator of how well the second language (L2) learners can perform academic language skills such as, reading, listening, and writing (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton and Johnston, 2008; Treiman and Casar, 1996). Numerous studies have documented the strong and reciprocal relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension (Baker, Simmons, & Kame’enui, 1995; Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002; Graves, 2000; Stahl & Fairbanks, 1987;) as well as general reading ability (Stanovich, Cunningham, & West, 1998). Likewise, Saville-Troike, (1984) concluded that vocabulary knowledge is the single best predictor of students’ academic achievement across subject matter domains. Also, there is a strong agreement among researchers that promoting vocabulary growth is an important and often neglected component of a comprehensive reading program (Baumann & Kame’enui, 2004; National Reading Panel, 2000; Vaezi & Fallah, 2010).