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This study has evaluated the effectiveness of vocabulary instruction via lexical networks and whether this approach aids text comprehension and vocabulary growth in an L2 reading and vocabulary course. The instructional use of lexical networks, more commonly known as semantic maps, was tested against the worddefinition matching technique, an approach that focuses on lexical items in isolation, as independent units. The main interest of the researcher was whether the use of a lexical network approach can help students recognize lexical cohesive features of a text and consequently facilitate comprehension of a text and increase vocabulary retention. The results of the study showed that learners' identification of lexical networks in a text can be a useful vocabulary learning device for advanced L2 learners, helping them establish and strengthen the links not only between the items that were the focus of the explicit instruction, but also other semantically related lexical items in the text.