Successful comprehension is, in some significant part, dependent on the reader's knowledge of word meanings in a given passage
WHAT DOESN'T WORK? 1.Look them up. 2.Use them in a sentence 3.Use context. 4.Memorize definitions
WHAT DOES WORK? Integration—connecting new vocabulary to prior knowledge Repetition—encountering/using the word/concept many times Meaningful use—multiple opportunities to use new words in reading, writing and soon discussion.
INDEPENDENT READING The largest influence on students' vocabulary is the sheer volume of reading they do, especially wide reading that includes a rich variety of texts.
INDEPENDENT READING 1.Matching text difficulty to student reading level and personal interests (e.g. using the Lexile system)Lexile system 2.Reading incentive programs that include taking quizzes on books read (e.g., Accelerated Reader, Reading Counts) 3.Regular discussion, such as literature circles, book clubs, quick reviews, of what students are reading 4.Setting weekly/individual goals for reading volume 5.Adding more structure to Sustained Silent Reading by including a 5-minute quick-write at the end of the reading period, then randomly selecting three or four papers to read/grade to increase student accountability.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT Select the Most Important Words to Teach Students with weak lexical skills are likely to view all new words as equally challenging and important, so it is imperative for the teacher to point out those words that are truly vital to a secondary student's academic vocabulary base.
STRATEGIES FOR VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT 1.Teach synonyms. Provide a synonym students know, 2.Teach antonyms. Not all words have antonyms, but thinking about for those that do, opposite requires their students to evaluate the critical attributes of the words in question. 3.Paraphrase definitions. 4.Provide examples. 5.Provide nonexamples. 6.Ask for sentences that "show you know” 7.Teach word sorting. Provide a list of vocabulary words from a reading selection and have students sort them into various categories (e.g., parts of speech, branches of government). Students can re-sort words into "guess my sort" using categories of their own choosing.
STRATEGIES FOR CONCEPTUALLY CHALLENGING WORDS 1.List-Group-Label 2.Possible Sentences
LIST-GROUP-LABEL This is a form of structured brainstorming designed to help students identify what they know about a concept and the words related to the concept while provoking a degree of analysis and critical thinking. These are the directions to students: Think of all the words related to ______. (a key "big idea" in the text) Group the words listed by some shared characteristics or commonalties. Decide on a label for each group. Try to add words to the categories on the organized lists. Working in small groups or pairs, each group shares with the class its method of categorization and the thinking behind its choices, while adding words from other class members. Teachers can extend this activity by having students convert their organized concepts into a Semantic Map which a visual expression of their thinking. List-group-label is an excellent prereading activity to build on prior knowledge, introduce critical concepts, and ensure attention during selection reading.
POSSIBLE SENTENCES THIS IS A RELATIVELY SIMPLE STRATEGY FOR TEACHING WORD MEANINGS AND GENERATING CONSIDERABLE CLASS DISCUSSION The teacher chooses six to eight words from the text that may pose difficulty for students. These words are usually key concepts in the text. Next, the teacher chooses four to six words that students are more likely to know something about. The list of ten to twelve words is put on the chalk board or overhead projector. The teacher provides brief definitions as needed. Students are challenged to devise sentences that contain two or more words from the list. All sentences that students come up with, both accurate and inaccurate, are listed and discussed. Students now read the selection. After reading, revisit the Possible Sentences and discuss whether they could be true based on the passage or how they could be modified to true.
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