James S. Etim


Vocabulary knowledge has been found to be crucial for academic achievement. In Nigeria, English is the second language for many students and also the language of instruction beginning from grade 3. The need to measure the vocabulary size and also encourage vocabulary instruction is not only necessary but paramount for student achievement in school. The purpose of the study was to find out if (a) there is a difference in word size (vocabulary development) based on gender? (b) there is a relationship between reading interest and word size? (c) there is difference between gender and the ability to generate abstract words? (d) there is difference between number of books at home and vocabulary size? (e) there is a significant difference between school type and word size? Five secondary schools in Jos metropolis of Plateau State, Nigeria were selected for the study. Of the five schools, there were two Government Day secondary schools (non- boarding school), a Government Secondary school (boarding), a private day (non-boarding) and a private boarding school. Students completed “The Vocabulary Development of Secondary School Students Questionnaire” developed for the study. Only students present during the day of the administration were allowed to complete the questionnaire. 270 usable questionnaires were completed and formed the basis for the analysis. It was found that female word size was significantly higher than those of the female subjects, that there were also able to generate more abstract words and that school type had a significant influence on word size for all subject. Based on these findings, t was recommended that teachers and schools do more in teaching vocabulary to all students and develop strategies to engage male students. 


Article visualizations:

Hit counter



junior secondary school, teaching strategies, vocabulary development, vocabulary size

Full Text:



Afangideh, Maria and Jude, Wisdom (2012) Developing Literacy Skills to Enhance Academic Performance of Learners in Uyo Education Zone Academic Research International 3.3: 296-302

Akbarian, I. (2010) The relationship between vocabulary size and depth in ESP/EAP learners. System 38: 391-401

Anderson, R., and W. Nagy. (1991). Word meanings. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, and P.D. Pearson, (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research, Vol. 2, pp. 690–724. New York: Longman.

Anderson, Richard C and William Naggy (1993) The Vocabulary Conundrum Technical Report 570. Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois., Retrieved June 14, 2017

Bernstein, M. R. (1955). Relationship between Interest and Reading Comprehension. The Journal of Educational Research, 49. 4 : 283-288

Butler, S., Urrutia, K., Buenger, A., Gonzalez, N., Hunt, M., and Eisenhart, C. (2010). A Review of the Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction. National Reading Technical Assistance Center/ US Department of Education., Retrieved May 12, 2017.

Chapelle, C.A. (1998). Construct definition and validity inquiry in SLA research. In Bachman, L.F. and Cohen, A.D. (Eds.), Interfaces between second language acquisition and language testing research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 32–70

Curtis, M.E. (1987). Vocabulary Testing and Instruction in Michael McKeow and M.E. Curtis ed. The Nature of Vocabulary Acquisition pp37-51. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dada, A (1987). Word attack skills deficiency in secondary school reading in S. Unoh, R. Omojuwa and E. Abe ed. Literacy and Reading in Nigeria vol 3. Pp. 108-117. Zaria, Nigeria: Ahmadu Bello Press.

Etim, J (1982) Teaching English in secondary schools in Nigeria: Problems and Possible solutions. Education and Development 2.1: 279-286

Etim, J (1990). Review of Research in secondary reading in Nigeria (1959-1988). Journal of Reading 34.2: 84-91

Evue, Augustine (2013) Challenges Facing the Teaching of English Language in Secondary Schools In Aniocha South Local Government Area Of Delta State Nigeria. African Education Indices 5.1: 1-11

Fatiloro, Oluwayemisi (2015) Tackling the Challenges of Teaching English Language as Second Language (ESL) In Nigeria. IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education 5.2: 26-30

Graves, Michael (2007). Vocabulary Instruction in the Middle grades. Voices from the Middle. 15.1: 13-19.

Gu, Y. (2002). Gender, Academic Major, and Vocabulary Learning Strategies of Chinese EFL Learners. RELC Journal 33.1: 35-54

Henriksen, B. (1999). Three dimensions of vocabulary development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21, 303–317.

Koda, K. (1989). The effects of transferred vocabulary knowledge on the development of L2 reading proficiency. Foreign Language Annals 22:529-540.

Larson, L.; Dixon, T., & Townsend, D. (2013). How Can Teachers Increase Classroom Use of Academic Vocabulary? Voices from the Middle. 20.4: 16-21.

Lee, J (2011) Size Matters: Early Vocabulary as a Predictor of Language and Literacy Competence. Applied Linguistics 32.1: 69-92

Lonigan, C. J., & Phillips, B. M. (2015). Response to instruction in preschool: Results of two randomized studies with children at significant risk of reading difficulties. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(1), 114-129.

Manzo, A. V., Manzo, U. C., & Thomas, M. M. (2006). Rationale for systematic vocabulary development: Antidote for state mandates. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(7), 610–619.

Mohammadi, Sayed and Afshar, Nasrollah (2016) Vocabulary Knowledge Learning and Reading Comprehension Performance: Which one is Superior- Breadth or Depth? International Journal of 21st Century Education 3.2: 5-14

Moinzadeh, Ahmad and Moslehpour, Roghaieh (2012). Depth and Breadth of Vocabulary Knowledge: Which Really Matters in Reading Comprehension of Iranian EFL Learners? Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3, 5 : 1015-1026

Muodumogu, C. (2003). Teachers’ perception of the use of instructional materials for effective teaching of vocabulary, WCCI, Nigerian Chapter Forum, 4 (2), 149 – 158.

Nagy, W. E. (1988). Teaching vocabulary to improve reading comprehension. Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English

Nation, I. S. P. (2004). A study of the most frequent word families in the British National Corpus. In P. Bogaards & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language: Selection, acquisition and testing (pp. 3–13). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Nation, I.S.P. (2006) How large a vocabulary is needed for learning and listening. Canadian Modern Language Review. 63.1:59-82

National Reading Panel. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Obiegbu, Ifeyinwa (2016) The Challenges of Teaching English Language in Nigeria. Journal of Modern European Languages and Literature 5, 53-60.

Pikulski, John J and Templeton, Shane (nd). Teaching and Developing Vocabulary: Key to Long-Term Reading Success Current Research in Reading and Language Arts/ Houghton Mifflin Reading, online-, Retrieved August 12, 2017

Qian, D.D. (2002). Investigating the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and academic reading performance: an assessment perspective. Language Learning 52(3), 513–536.

Qian, D. (1999). Assessing the roles of depth and breadth of vocabulary knowledge in reading comprehension. Canadian Modern Language Review, 56(2), 282-307.

Read, J (1993) The development of a new measure of L2 vocabulary knowledge. Language Testing, 10.3 :355-371

Richards, J.C. (1976) The role of vocabulary teaching. TESOL Quarterly 10, 77-89.

Schmittt, N. (2000) Vocabulary in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sen, Yusuf and Kuleli, Mesut (2015) The effect of vocabulary size and vocabulary depth on reading in EFL context. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 199 (2015): 555 – 562

Shen, Zhifa (2008) The Roles of Depth and Breadth of Vocabulary Knowledge in EFL Reading Performance. Asian Social Science 4.12: 135-137

Teng, Feng (2014). Assessing the Depth and Breadth of Vocabulary Knowledge with listening comprehension. PASAA 48, 20-56

Thrupp, M. (2013). National Standards for student achievement: İs New Zealand's idiosyncratic approach any better? Australian Journal of Language & Literacy, 36(2), 99-110.


  • There are currently no refbacks.





Copyright © 2015. European Journal of English Language Teaching (ISSN 2501-7136) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).