Vocabulary development is a key factor in reading achievement and overall academic success. One way of increasing students’ vocabulary is encouraging them to read a wide variety of texts which contain vocabulary at an appropriately challenging level. Research shows that this type of exposure lead to an understanding of about 15% of the words read that were previously unknown. However, this means that 85% of the unknown words encountered continue to be unknown word!
Many students need to be explicitly taught how to ‘tune into’ new words that they encounter and provided specific strategies for them to learn these words.
The Graffiti Word Wall (Gallagher & Anderson, 2016, p.276) is one strategy that effectively supports this vocabulary development.
- Read aloud from a text with rich vocabulary. Model stopping to notice new and interesting words.
- Invite students to notice, record, and share new and interesting words.
- Keep a class (or family) record of new words shared. Initially, ask students to work with a partner to select a word from the list. Once this strategy becomes familiar, have students choose a word individually.
- Instruct students to write their word in a graffiti style across the centre of a piece of paper and complete each corner of the Frayer model: a definition in one corner (and/or a synonym), antonyms in another, a sentence highlighting the word’s meaning in the third corner, and an illustration showing the word’s meaning in the fourth.
- Ask students to share their word card with the class (or the family) and add it to the Graffiti Word Wall.
Gallagher, M., & Anderson, B. (2016). Get All “Jazzed Up” for Vocabulary Instruction: Strategies That Engage. The Reading Teacher, 70(3), 273–282.