Vocabulary

  • How should vocabulary development be facilitated?

    • Promote words. Talk about words. Discuss new words and old words with new meanings.
    • Have a word wall of interesting and unusual words.
    • Think not only in terms of words but also interesting phrases and sentences.
    • Teach in context, within real stories and texts.
    • Talk about how authors use words to convey just the right idea or meaning.
    • Enrcourage and compliment students when they show versatility with their oral and written language.
    • Make students aware of words. Help them understand that sometimes we encounter an unusual word, we think for the first time, then we see or hear that same word again and again. Chances are it has been there all along.  We just haven't been attending.
    • Map words as recommended by Schwartz and Raphael (1985) or Frayer et al. (1969).
    • Play with words on occasion. For example select a word such as hit or run and see how many ways the word can be used meaningfully: hit the ceiling, hit and run, take a hit, or run of luck, run a race, run for office, rerun, run down, and so on.
    • Remember that words are not just learned or unlearned.  Vocabulary growth is always a work in progress.

    When to teach vocabulary?

    The word is:

    • Necessary for text comprehension and not defined by context.
    • Necessary for text comprehension and defined explicitly in text.
    • Necessary for text comprehension and defined implicitly or partially by context.
    • Not necessary for overall text comprehension but an interesting word.
    • Not Necessary for text comprehension and had little interest or relevance at this time.

    If condition 1 prevails, discuss the word before reading and revisit it after reading. If condidtion 2, 3, or 4 prevails, address the word after the reading. If condition 5 prevails, perhaps teach or discuss after the elsson or at a more opportune time.

    Borrowed from The Comprehension Experience by Dorsey Hammond and Denise Nessel (2011)