Literacy Resources

Teaching Vocabulary

•Students must learn 3,000 words per year by 3rd grade. •Only 400 words a year are directly taught by teachers. •Academic demands are high •Everyday speech consists of only 5,000- 7,000 words.  The books that young children are able to read are intended to help them practice their reading skills rather than build their vocabulary. While we can use these books to build the vocabulary knowledge of young children, it takes some effort and thought on the part of the teacher, tutor, or parent. 

Young children do not build their vocabulary by reading books but rather by having books read to them.



:Strategies to Teach Vocabulary Words

1. Read the story.

2. Contextualize the word within the story. 

3. Have children say the word.

4. Provide a student-friendly explanation of the word.

5. Present examples of the word used in contexts different from the story context.

6. Engage children in activities that get them to interact with the words.

7. Have children say the word. 


•For students with special needs, it is important that the teacher introduces a new word and provide VISUALS

Build on prior knowledge

Define in kid friendly terms and provide examples

Use games, songs, multi-sensory activities.

Use Semantic Mapping:



Vocabulary words fall into 3 tiers:

Tier One: Basic words that rarely require instructional focus (door, house, book)

Tier Two: Words that appear with high frequency, across a variety of domains, and are crucial when using mature, academic language (coincidence, reluctant, analysis).

Tier Three: Frequency of these words is quite low and often limited to specific fields of study (isotope, Reconstruction, Buddhism).


****Robert Marzano has written several books on Vocabulary Instruction. Here are his strategies:

Step one: The teacher explains a new word, going beyond reciting its definition (tap into prior knowledge of students, use imagery).

Step two: Students restate or explain the new word in their own words (verbally and/or in writing).

Step three: Ask students to create a non-linguistic representation of the word (a picture, or symbolic representation).

Step four: Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word (compare words, classify terms, write their own analogies and metaphors).

Step five: Students discuss the new word (pair-share, elbow partners).

Step six: Students periodically play games to review new vocabulary (Pyramid, Jeopardy, Telephone).


Resources:

Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck
Vocabulary Games for the Classroom by Lindsey Carlton and Robert J. Marzano
Words, Words, Words by Janet Allen
Teaching Basic and Advanced Vocabulary: A Framework for Direct Instruction by Robert J. Marzano






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