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The Power of Words A Case for Vocabulary Development.

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Presentation on theme: "The Power of Words A Case for Vocabulary Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Power of Words A Case for Vocabulary Development

2 What is word knowledge?  Phonological (sounds/syllables)  Morphological (meaningful parts)  Orthographical (spelling patterns)  Meanings and Meaning networks  Syntactic roles  Etymological (linguistic history)

3 What we know from research  Vocabulary knowledge is strongly related to reading comprehension.  If a word is decoded and pronounced, but the meaning is not recognized, comprehension is impared.  Knowledge of a word’s meaning facilitates accurate word recognition.  (From the research of John Carroll, Jean CHall, et all 1970’s)

4  Vocabulary is the best single measure of verbal intelligence on the Stanford- Binet or Wechler IQ tests.  Teaching vocabulary improves both verbal IQ and reading comprehension.

5  School age children learn, on average 3000 to 4000 word per year (Nagy/Anderson 1984, Nagy/Herman 1987)  In 4 th and 5 th grades, one million words of running text contains 40,000 words which will appear only once or twice, yet are crucial to the passage meaning.  Students will learn aproximately 2000-3000 of these word by learning them in context. (Mary Bigler EMU)

6  High knowledge 3 rd graders have the vocabulary about equal to the lowest performing 12 th graders.  Literate high school graduates need to know at least 60,000 words.

7  The average student begins school with only 5000 words. (Children of poverty begin with THOUSANDS LESS oral vocabularies.)  They need to learn about 4000 words a year or 70 words a week to hit 60,000 by 12 th grade.  (That is 15 new words per day!)  For the average student, it takes 14 exposures to learn and apply a word!!!

8  Vocabulary workbooks expose children to words out of context where re-exposure is limited and words tend to stay in the short term memory and are lost.  So….how can students get the word base knowledge? READ!  If a child were to read a book a week, from K to 12 th grade, 1-1.5 million words would be encountered through multiple exposures to equal 40,000 words without explicit instruction.

9  Those 40,000 words, plus the 5000 the child entered school with, leaves teachers with 15,000 words to teach.  So reading large amounts of narrative and informational text is the best strategy to increasing vocabulary.

10  One of the longest, most clearly articulated lines of research concludes a strong connection between the vocabulary knowledge of the reader and his/her ability to understand what was read.  appears that the “best bang for the buck” in vocabulary growth is to spend time reading daily.

11 However, that said….  Before the middle grades, children read fewer words than they comprehend through listening. (Their oral vocabulary outpace their written vocabulary)  After the middle grades, vocabulary knowledge expands as a function of reading itself, so more words are learned from reading than from listening.

12 The widening gap..  So it isn’t ironic that the middle grades are where the struggling reader falls grossly behind the average reader.  They are still struggling to read words in their oral vocabulary when the curriculum vocabulary expands exponentially beyond.  What can be done?

13 EXPOSURE TO RICH LANGUAGE  Rich words provided in read-alouds naturally expand vocabulary. (Even if read by parent or teacher.)  Children’s books have more varied vocabulary than TV and adult conversation.  Adult reading matter contain 2-3 times RARER words than heard on TV.

14 Robert Marzano’s work  There is a connection (Marzano’s calls them synonymous) between background knowledge and vocabulary development.  Influence one and the other is also influenced.  This is very powerful since lack of background knowledge is the number one indicator of school success with children of poverty.

15 Students also need:  Multiple exposures to concepts and their vocabularies assure the ideas are not just one time episodes and will get to long term memory.  This can be done through Field trips backed by reading and virtual trips found on websites and educational film.

16 Get away from the dictionary!  Reading a definition does not tell us how a word is actually used.  Examples from context are needed to infer the connotation and denotation of the word.  Dictionary definitions can be truncated and incomplete.  Being able to define a word is an end result of knowing the word internally.

17 Consciously connect the new to the known  This is MAKING CONNECTIONS, the comprehension skill, showing up once again!  When a child can connect new to prior knowledge, information is added, enlarged, changed. Meaning is enhanced.

18 Consciously develop the vocabulary with a CONCEPT.  If a word doesn’t have a concept, then the word doesn’t exist in that student’s mind. The word is not public and knowledge cannot be unveiled.  Marzano’s 6 Step Process (follows) is based on the understanding that a school or district have consensus on academic vocabulary necessary to complete concepts taught.

19 1. Describe, explain, or give example of term.  First assess for prior knowledge. What do your students know…or think they know about term?  Provide initial information on term via story, experience, video, computer, investigation, current event, picture….etc.  KEY: YOU ARE NOT DEFINING TERM, you are providing background knowledge.

20 2. Ask for restatement of what you just did in student’s own words.  KEY: DO NOT LET THEM COPY what you said. They must internalize it with their own words.  If they are not showing understanding, review Step 1.  Ask them to write their restatement in a journal (if they can’t write, ask them to restate to a friend.)

21 3. Ask for a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the term.  Sometimes they can draw the actual item, but more often they will need to create a graphic picture or series of pictures.

22 4. Engage students in activities with term (periodic step).  Look for its antonym, synonym, prefix/suffix  Language if origin….or the term in another language.  Related terms….etc.

23 5. Have students discuss terms with one another. (periodic step)  The act of speaking activates the learning to deepen. It also engages students in thinking about the term.

24 6. Engage students in games using the terms (periodic step).  Play helps students keep terms at the forefront of their thinking and helps they re-evaluate their thinking on the meanings.  Building Academic Vocabulary, Marzano, ASCD, 2005

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