Building Word and World Knowledge in the Early Years

Susan B. Neuman, Ashley M. Pinkham, Tanya Kaefer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In efforts to prepare children for learning to read, it is crucial to recognize the important role of word and world knowledge in early literacy, and to balance children's skill development with their conceptual knowledge development better. To make this argument, this chapter first examines the building blocks necessary for children's word learning and knowledge acquisition. It then reviews the crucial environmental influences that lead to the vocabulary and knowledge differential, and then traces how these differences contribute to a knowledge gap-a gap potentially far more detrimental than achievement score differences. The chapter ends by describing a program designed to facilitate low-income children's literacy development through the teaching of word and world knowledge during the early years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Research on Children's Literacy, Learning, and Culture
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780470975978
StatePublished - Mar 5 2013


  • Children
  • Environmental influences
  • Literacy development
  • Word learning
  • World knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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