parent reading

Vocabulary development is most widely known to occur through reading and oral language. Parents are frequently advised to read to their children and to talk to their children. This relates specifically to two common processes called fast mapping and extended mapping.

Fast mapping is a rapid process by which children hear a word and connect it with a general understanding of the concept (Carey & Bartlett, 1978). This often occurs when talking to a child about their immediate environment and labeling the objects in this environment. Fast mapping however is limited to these specific contexts or environments.

Multiple exposures to the word in varying contexts are needed to provide an increased depth and understanding of the vocabulary world. This process of refining one’s understanding of a vocabulary word is called extending mapping. Overall, fast mapping contributes to the variety of vocabulary words an individual learns while extended mapping contributes to the depth and understanding of those words acquired.

An important aspect that helps with these mapping processes is context clues. Context clues are hints that allow a person to infer what the meaning of an unknown word may be. For example: Handle this glass vase carefully because it is fragile. Context clues could include “glass” and “carefully.” These context clues however are language based which can be difficult for our students who already struggle with speech and language skills. Therefore, InferCabulary Pro bases its context clues and inferencing on visual input rather than language. By allowing kids to infer meaning based on visual examples and a variety of contexts the language aspect is no longer a hindrance to our students learning new vocabulary.

Post by Guest Blogger – Kellie Ileto, M.A., SLP works as a speech language pathologist in Montgomery County Public Schools with children who are deaf/hard of hearing. She recently graduated from George Washington University where she worked in a Cochlear Implant Research Lab and completed her Masters thesis focusing on pragmatic language in children with autism.