Chapter 2
vocabulary words in the context of story retelling is an important application
experience for young children that helps them remember new words. Both ex-
plicit and implicit teaching are needed for effective vocabulary development
in the early childhood years (Bridges et al. 2012; Harris, Golinkoff, and Hirsh-
Pasek 2011; Neuman 2011). Children need clear information about word
meanings, and they learn words best in meaningful contexts.

Children Learn through Repetition
Learning happens in layers. We offer repetition while teaching young chil-
dren so they can revisit concepts and gather depth of knowledge based on
their new schemas. When we repeat a story, we’re not really repeating the
same things over and over again, but instead, we’re revisiting through dif-
ferent angles or alternative perspectives, or in greater depth than before.

Vocabulary development similarly mim-
ics this process of layering on knowledge
and spiraling through meanings. Repeated
exposure to vocabulary instruction is a
characteristic of teaching for meaning. Go
back to the context of the word in the story
to talk about it again after reading, share
how the word is used in other contexts,
or talk about the word in relation to chil-
dren’s own lives (text-to-self connections).

Neuman, researching vocabulary develop-
ment in kindergarten and primary grades,
found that although teachers addressed
vocabulary in school while reading, they
Enacting the story A Box Can Be Many Things (Rau 1997), children
seldom repeated meaningful vocabulary
and teachers use the book to help them follow the sequence of how
experiences (2011). This is problematic
a box may be turned into several different make-believe things and
because children need repeated exposures
enact the meanings of words such as flip, punch holes, and rip.

to effectively learn and apply new vocab-
ulary words. Just as Hart and Risley cite the importance of parental impact
on children’s vocabulary learning (2003), relationships between teacher input
and child vocabulary output exist also in early school environments (Harris,
Golinkoff, and Hirsh-Pasek 2011). Children need frequent and quality-​oriented
exposure to vocabulary instruction—a principle that is at the core of the
shared/interactive reading discussion that is found in the third chapter.

Promote Depth of Processing
To understand the concept of depth of processing, we must look at two types
of knowledge: factual and conceptual. Factual knowledge is simply content; it
could involve rote memorization. A child might tell a teacher that an insect has
six legs, three body parts, antennae, and sometimes wings, for example. The
child has factual knowledge of the word insect. Neuman indicates that this type