Planned, individualized vocabulary instruction is an essential ingredient of developmental reading classes. The importance of the knowledge acquired through such instruct i on is underscored by re-examining just what it means to know a word. Although it is still not clear "if Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell were left in a room for three hours, they could decide that they really knew the meaning of dog (Anderson and Freebody, 1981), it is certain that words symbolize concepts and that conceptual knowledge is a requisite for reading comprehension. As Roe, Stoodt and Burns (1983) explain, "Words are labels for thoughts, ideas, concepts, and for the relationships among them; thus, words permit the manipulation of ideas."
Thompson, L. C., & Frager, A. M. (1985). Individualized Vocabulary Instruction in Developmental Reading. Reading Horizons, 26 (1). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol26/iss1/7