“As important as word recognition is, and it’s super important, vocabulary needs to be given as much emphasis. It is essential that children learn to quickly decode words, but if they don’t understand the meaning of the words, then their ability to understand the overall meaning of a story or other text will be compromised. And comprehension should always be the ultimate goal of reading.” says Diane Nielsen, associate professor of curriculum and teaching at University of Kansas, who published her study in the journal Reading Psychology.
Nielsen suggested that the findings are important because students can often appear to be good readers in the primary grades, but when text becomes more demanding they can quickly fall behind.
"I think it really helps if we can all get kids to be ‘word conscious’ – get them excited about learning new words, show them that words can be ‘cool’ and get them thinking about words in many different contexts.” says Nielsen.