ELL Assessment for Linguistic Differences vs. Learning Disabilities
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The Meaning of Words  Semantics or the meaning of words is also one of the most important information cues used in reading comprehension.  Indeed, the student’s life experience is relevant to the development of linguistic meanings of words, which is important to the reading process.  Therefore, according to Gibson and Levin (1975):

Meaning begins with the real things in the world, their distinctive features and events that have observable and predictable relations between things and people and actions (…) It seems important to stress that linguistic meanings have their origins in perception of things and events in the world

(p.77-78, as cited in Serpa, 1983, p.74).

Understanding the meaning of words in written and/or spoken form is critical to reading as “meaning making.”  Research in reading comprehension indicates that vocabulary is the foundation of reading comprehension and the meanings of words are culturally influenced and context driven in most cases.

©2005 Maria de Lourdes Serpa.
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