Vocabulary Development

There is a long history of research showing that vocabulary knowledge (which encompasses both pronunciation and word meaning) is an essential component of comprehension.  Furthermore, this research shows that a multiple-strategy approach is necessary for building a student’s vocabulary.  This includes:

  • Direct, explicit instruction.
  • Multiple encounters of the same word in varying contexts.
  • Teaching associated syntactical and morphology (root words, prefixes and suffixes).
  • Investigating synonyms, antonyms, homophones and homonyms.

Each week the student learns the meaning and pronunciation of 20 words.

These words are used in the various reading activities during the week so the student can see the words in different context, including the addition of different suffixes and prefixes.

Every day, the student completes a more in depth analysis of five words using the vocabulary cards at the end of the unit.

To really reinforce this vocabulary, use the words as many times as possible in conversation with your child/students.  Perhaps have a competition to see who can use a particular word the most times.

References

Biemiller, A. (2003) Vocabulary: Needed if more children are to read well. Reading Psychology, 24(3-4), 323-335.

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2008). Word wise and content rich: Five essential steps to teaching academic vocabulary. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.

Marzano, R.J. (2010). Teaching basic and advanced vocabulary. A framework for direct instruction. Boston, MA: Heinle Cengage Learning.