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Accelerated Vocabulary Instruction Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gap for All Students Author: Nancy Akhavan.

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Presentation on theme: "Accelerated Vocabulary Instruction Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gap for All Students Author: Nancy Akhavan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accelerated Vocabulary Instruction Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gap for All Students Author: Nancy Akhavan

2 Estimated Number of Words Children Hear by Age 3 Socioeconomic status Size of vocabulary at age 3 Number of words heard per hour Professional 1,100 2,153 Working Class 7501,251 Poverty

3 Vocabulary Matters Vocabulary is closely associated with intelligence and with knowledge Vocabulary influences reading comprehension Vocabulary growth is cumulative Children who begin school with a vocabulary gap don’t catch up without intervention

4 Principles For Vocabulary Instruction  Creating a word-rich learning environment  Making Connections to words  Engaging students with explicit instruction  Accelerating vocabulary development through wide reading

5 Principles That Guide Vocabulary Instruction Plan to Create a word-rich learning environment. Plan to Teach concepts not words. Plan to Show children how to make connections between words. Plan to Make your thinking transparent as a model for children. Plan to Put content first and teach reading in fiction and non fiction genres.

6 Plan to Engage children with intensive mini- lessons. Plan to mentor children during individual sustained reading. Plan to Balance vocabulary instruction between explicit and implicit activities. Plan to Spiral learning by using familiar methods and activities with new words. Plan to Foster word learning by creating word-learning areas in your classroom.

7 Design Effective Mini-Lessons Connect – (Wakes Up the Brain) Immediately focuses children’s attention on the words they are going to learn. This takes one minute. Teach – (Explicit Instruction) Teach words and concepts that children don’t know yet and links new learning to prior knowledge quickly. This takes ten minutes. Practice – (Guided and Authentic) Children are engaged with information that they are able to process for themselves. This takes five minutes. Wrap Up – (Transition) A sentence or two that highlights the learning.

8 Vocabulary Lessons Should focus on learning something new Should engage curiosity and concentration Should sustain interest and help with making a new word more meaningful Should move information from short term memory to long term memory Should connect with words the way they connect with other media in their lives, including music, computer games, and reading information on the Worldwide Web

9 In order for students to use a word in writing or when speaking it takes a greater understanding of a word’s meaning. Differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of all students. Following a few routines in your daily lessons can help to accelerate a students ability to focus deeply on a word and allows them to increase their vocabulary. Active – Allow students time to work with their peers on ideas. We rush students to be independent and we don’t trust that they can learn with a peer or in a group Visual/Kinesthetic – Move information from short term memory to long term memory by allowing students to draw and write their own definitions of words or act out words by having children demonstrate the definition. Repetition – Some researchers estimate that it takes at least 12 purposeful encounters with a word for children to own it or to be able to retrieve it from their memory and use it correctly (Stahl, 1985; Stahl & Nagy, 2006). Drill exercises are proven to be the least effective way to teach vocabulary. Background - Children will think of images that match a word’s meaning, and with time they will use what they know to create their own definition. Fast Mapping – This is the unconscious action our memory takes when we first begin to learn a word and occurs after one or two encounters with a word. Student’s might say they’ve heard the word or seen it, but they don’t know what it means. Fast mapping is part of explicit vocabulary instruction.

10 The Three Levels of Word Knowing Word Association  Recognize words they read or hear  Have curiosity about new words  Are able to attend to new words, rather then forget them immediately Word Comprehension  Know and understand words they read or hear  Can answer multiple-choice test questions about a word  Appreciate beautiful language Word Generation  Use words in writing  Use words in conversation and academic discussion  Use words in new ways (Stahl, 1985)

11 Four Ingredients To Student Learning Engage Integrate Assess Reflect

12 Engage  Share examples of beautiful, lyrical language  Celebrate and accept students’ favorite phrases and words  Share a fascination with facts, ideas, and information  Share a fascination with words  Act out meanings  Draw word meanings  Honor students’ attempts to discover and try new words.

13 Integrate Our memories work best when new information connects to schema. Students should keep track of their personal word goals and focus on how they expand their vocabularies Teachers present students with academic words Word meanings are explained throughout the day

14 Assess Listen to students read and focus on how they determine the meaning of unknown words Assess group knowledge of core words and content words of study. To determine how students are developing: Develop an understanding of what they know about word usage Focus on teaching words they don’t know, rather than teaching something they already know Listen to them read to determine how well they infer word meaning Listen to them read and help them to apply their word knowledge Assess their word knowledge appropriately to see if they are only acquainted with a word or if they own it

15 Reflect When you reflect on your instruction and student learning you can align what you are teaching to what you plan to teach. After instruction, do the following:  Reflect on student learning: Are students able to try new words?  Reflect on students’ word usage in writing, speaking, and academic conversations  Ensure that the classroom environment allows for children to experiment and learn new words and concepts.  Focus on making our thinking transparent, model and make explicit learning and thinking that are implicit.

16 “When we provide connected learning, we are accelerating the rate at which children learn and know new words. We have to focus on how we teach so that we help our students understand that expanding their vocabularies is important. By providing both explicit and implicit opportunities to learn words, we can help our children move beyond the short, quick phrases they use for daily friend-to-friend communication and learn new discourses. In sum, we teach them how words are used in school and in life and how words connect us to the world.” (Akhavan, 2007)


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