Presentation on theme: "The Power of Words A Case for Vocabulary Development."— Presentation transcript:
The Power of Words A Case for Vocabulary Development
What is word knowledge? Phonological (sounds/syllables) Morphological (meaningful parts) Orthographical (spelling patterns) Meanings and Meaning networks Syntactic roles Etymological (linguistic history)
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)
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.
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)
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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. So..it appears that the “best bang for the buck” in vocabulary growth is to spend time reading daily.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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