Reading comprehension, inference, and vocabulary skills all go hand in hand—this is why our CCSS Assessments cover all three components in a detailed reading evaluation. But how are these reading elements connected?
- Reading comprehension refers to your ability to read a text and understand its overall meaning.
- Inference describes your ability to make observations about a text, especially when dealing with implied (or indirectly stated) information. Inference determines whether or not you can pick up on context clues while searching for answers or defining vocabulary in a given text.
- Vocabulary includes all of the words you know that help you understand what you’re reading. After all—reading would be impossible without knowing at least some of the words found in a passage!
Remember, reading itself is one thing, but grasping the meaning and/or point of a text is another. Comprehension, inference, and vocabulary skills come together to help us thoroughly understand, process, and analyze all kinds of texts.
In the words of MEK’s highly experienced SAT Reading teacher Mr. Chris Lee,
Understanding context clue and inference is directly tied to vocabulary. A student cannot understand the context or make correct inferences without knowing a variety of vocabulary words.
To understand a sentence, you must know the words within it. At times, context clues may be enough to help you understand a particular word. However, without the knowledge of certain important words, context may not be enough to give us meaning.
In other words, without a proper vocabulary foundation, context clues mean little to readers. If you cannot pick up on context clues, you also probably struggle to identify the meaning of what you are reading—students who have a hard time reading therefore exhibit weak comprehension, inference, and vocabulary skills.
Without knowing specific words, it is sometimes impossible to understand a given text altogether. Mr. Lee continues:
There are many instances where the writer or author does not provide context clues for a word—in cases where there are not enough context clues, we are forced to understand a text with our direct knowledge of the specific word(s).
Therefore, all reading elements are linked—when a student has a weak foundation in one, he or she usually struggles with the other two. Vocabulary Lab is designed to boost all three skill sets simultaneously to help students become better readers overall.
This Lab teaches students in grades 4-7 to build larger word banks while reading CCSS-aligned non-fiction articles from reputable sources, including the New York Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine, and more!
All students develop new strategies to decipher the meanings of challenging words and learn to study vocabulary efficiently. Once they increase the number of words they can identify and understand, their reading comprehension and inference skills improve!