Visuals and Vocabulary


Not knowing the meaning of a word while reading is a common occurrence in school particularly when the students are at the stage when they are "reading-to-learn" as opposed to "learning-to-read." As mentioned in the previous blog post, it is within this “reading to learn” stage that Tier 2 vocabulary becomes prominent. Tier 2 vocabulary’s significance lies in its foundational framework for reading comprehension. Research shows that looking up the word in a dictionary alone is not enough for the student to grasp an in depth understanding of the word (Wise, Sevcik, Morris, Lovett, & Wolf, 2007). An in depth understanding would give the students the tools to manipulate and use the word in a novel way such as in conversation or in writing.

Marzano (2009) provided a list of methods that targeted methods to provide a deeper understanding of novel vocabulary words to increase both receptive and expressive language skills. One of the most important methods involved having “students construct a picture, pictograph or symbolic representation of the word.” InferCabulary Pro not only emphasizes this particular aspect of vocabulary but takes it to another level by providing contexts associated with the pictures through captions and has interactive games that reinforce a word’s meaning.

As a speech-language pathologist who often incorporates vocabulary goals into her sessions, visuals are an important component of vocabulary learning particularly for students with language disorders. Visuals take away the language component that would normally be associated with a word and its definition. InferCabulary Pro provides a visually exciting means of accessing and inferring meaning of words commonly found in the curriculum.

Marzano, R. J. (2009). The art and science of teaching: Six steps to better vocabulary instruction. Educational leadership67(1), 83-84.

Wise, J. C., Sevcik, R. A., Morris, R. D., Lovett, M. W., & Wolf, M. (2007). The relationship among receptive and expressive vocabulary, listening comprehension, pre-reading skills, word identification skills, and reading comprehension by children with reading disabilities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research50(4), 1093-1109.

The Magic of Words


Here’s some literacy inspiration for your day....

One day in a Barnes and Noble, Malcom, a young man, was approached by a middle-aged woman who invited him to join her book club. He accepted the invitation and was soon the only male in a room full of women discussing books.

What's interesting about that? At the time he was a popular football player at University of Georgia and now he's a wide receiver for the Patriots....but that's not what inspires me. Here it is - he could only read at the junior high level when he entered college. He didn't develop an interest in reading until college and now he is a children's book author.

Malcolm Mitchell self-published his own children's book, The Magician's Hat about a magician "whose trick is showing children the magic power of reading."* His book is somewhat autobiographical and an inspiration to children. Malcolm said football was easy for him, but reading required work.

We know that two-thirds of students in the U.S. struggle with reading
and vocabulary is the building block of reading comprehension.

Literacy is important to us and we'd like to inspire kids across the country to find the magic of reading by tapping into the power of a strong vocabulary. We found that using language to teach words isn't working, so we use images in different contexts to help children learn vocabulary and then add the language.

Be a magician for your students and introduce them to InferCabulary Pro! Opening up a world of words can magically open up a world of books.

To see how InferCabulary works, view our demonstration at

Questions?  Feel free to send us a question by e-mail at or call 410-960-2444 and ask for me, Deena Seifert.

Deena Seifert, M.S., CCC-SLP
InferCabulary Pro