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Overview:

College students often feel so overwhelmed by the highly developed and often discipline-specific vocabulary encountered in college that they find it as difficult as reading a foreign language. Texts written for academic purposes might assume that readers have a familiarity with the concepts and vocabulary of the discipline. However, this is not always the case. As students' studies progress, vocabulary can become so difficult that they struggle at the word level. This prevents them from understanding the main ideas and concepts we want them to learn. When struggling at the word level, looking up many unfamiliar words becomes a daunting and impractical task, just as it would be for the speaker of any "new" language. Therefore, it is imperative that we provide students with strategies to better comprehend the vocabulary they will face.