Efficiency of acquiring vocabulary via listening to stories

In a recent white paper from Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason, published in the Journal of English Language Teaching, the authors strongly suggest that direct teaching of vocabulary is not as efficient as acquiring vocabulary via listening the stories, and that the effect of direct instruction is more fragile: it fades more with time.

They explain vocabulary is acquired gradually. Nagy, Herman and Anderson (1985) concluded that each time readers encounter a new word in a comprehension context they acquired about five to ten percent of the meaning of the word. While that may not seem like a lot, Nagy et. al. point out that with enough comprehensible input, this is more than enough to account for what is known of vocabulary development.

The authors believe their arguments are consistent with those presented by McQuillan and Tse (1999) … Explicitly teaching words thoroughly is not necessary and may even be undesirable (p. 6).

Download the white paper.

Publication:      Journal of English Language Teaching
Author:             Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason
Publish Date:   3.21.2019