Research on Word-Learning Strategies Word-learning strategies can help students to determine meanings of unfamiliar words independently and transfer the strategies to other words. Effective word-learning strategies include how to use dictionaries to confirm and deepen knowledge of word meanings; use morphemic (word-part) analysis to derive meaning; use contextual analysis to infer meanings of words in text.
When to Teach Morphemic analysis is appropriate for students beginning at fourth grade. Instruction in compound words, word families, and simple affixes begins by second grade. Vocabulary can be acquired through use of context clues in reading and listening. Beginning in Kindergarten, teachers can model the use of context clues when reading aloud. By grades 2 and 3, students begin learning to use context clues independently. Middle grade students (grades 4-8) may begin using a combination of morphemic and contextual analysis.
When to Assess and Intervene Assessment that is tied to the instruction will provide better information about students’ specific learning of word learning strategies. The multiple-choice format of most standardized tests can also provide a more global measure of vocabulary. What is central to word-learning strategy assessment is a process such as thinking aloud or self-evaluation, that reveals the student’s metacognitive thinking.
Dictionary Use Mechanics of using a dictionary finding an entry alphabetically using guide words separating words into syllables using pronunciation keys Translating dictionary definitions into word knowledge finding the appropriate definition to fit the context confirming and deepening knowledge of a word
Morphemic Awareness Key instructional elements in morphemic analysis include Root words and word families: teaching root word and its derived forms; Compound words: contain two free morphemes that stand alone as two word parts; Greek and Latin Roots: bound morphemes that cannot stand alone as words in English; Cognate Awareness: words in two languages that share a similar spelling, pronunciation and meaning.
Contextual Analysis Types of helpful context clues in text Definition: direct definition within the sentence. Appositive: a word or phrase that defines or explains a word that precedes it. Synonym: a word or phrase that is similar in meaning. Antonym: words that mean the opposite or in contrast. Example: several words or ideas as examples General: non-specific clues to meaning Types of unhelpful context clues in text Misdirective: direct reader to incorrect meaning Nondirective: do not direct reader to any particular meaning of the word