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Teaching Adults to Read: Vocabulary 2008 Minnesota Summer Institute August 6, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching Adults to Read: Vocabulary 2008 Minnesota Summer Institute August 6, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching Adults to Read: Vocabulary 2008 Minnesota Summer Institute August 6, 2008

2 Sponsored by the National Institute for Literacy Facilitated by Kathy St. John Kaye Beall

3 Workshop Objectives By the end of the workshop, participants will have:  Defined vocabulary  Named the findings and explained the implications of reading research for vocabulary  Used tools for assessing reading skills in vocabulary  Demonstrated effective strategies for teaching vocabulary

4 Vocabulary Research Assessment Instruction

5 Vocabulary

6 Research Related to Vocabulary

7 Findings: Vocabulary Instruction Research  No emerging principles/practices  Relatively little research at K-12 level

8 Findings: Vocabulary Instruction Research  Important trends for ABE: –Vocabulary can be improved in general functional literacy settings, although teaching vocabulary in a specific setting, such as a family literacy or workplace setting, may be more effective. –Compatible with limited K – 12 research. Engaging contexts may be more effective.

9 Ideas from K – 12 Research Methods identified in K – 12 Research  Explicit instruction  Implicit instruction  Multimedia methods  Capacity methods  Association methods

10 Findings: Vocabulary Instruction  Practice (trends at Adult and K – 12 level) –Repetition in multiple contexts –Wide reading –Active engagement  Teach vocabulary using multiple, engaging contexts that foster repeated exposure to new concepts (such as family or workplace settings

11 Why is Vocabulary Important?  For beginners, oral vocabulary is the basis for meaningful reading.  Readers can’t understand a writer’s message unless they understand most of the words, so they must learn new word meanings to become better readers.

12 Who Needs Vocabulary Instruction?  Non-native speakers (ESOL students)  Many intermediate and higher-level readers

13 Assessment of Vocabulary

14 Edgar Dale’s Degrees of Knowing Word Meanings 1.I never saw or heard the word before. 2.I know there is such a word, but I don’t know what it means. 3.I’ve heard it and seen it. I know what it has to do with but I can’t tell you what it means specifically. 4.I know what it means. I’ll recognize it whenever I see it or hear it. I can use it. Dale, E. (1976) The living word vocabulary. Elgin, IL. Dome Press

15 Vocabulary Assessments Productive vocabulary words we know well enough to use in writing or speaking Receptive (listening) vocabulary words we know well enough to understand when seen in print or heard in conversation

16 Vocabulary Assessments (continued) 1.Elicited word meanings. Oral (productive) vocabulary. –Diagnostic Assessments of Reading (DAR) –Davidson and Bruce Word Meaning Test (Free to download at

17 Vocabulary Assessments (continued) 2.Multiple choice (oral-written). Limited receptive vocabulary. –Adult Basic Learning Examination (ABLE) –Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE)

18 Vocabulary Assessments (continued) 3.Multiple choice (oral-pictures). Two tests of Receptive Vocabulary –Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III) –Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement III

19 Vocabulary Assessments (continued) 4.Embedded in comprehension passages. Limited receptive vocabulary. –Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) –Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS)

20 Instruction in Vocabulary

21 Vocabulary Development Research-based Tips  Pre-teach unfamiliar words in instructional text.  Ensure multiple exposures to words by teaching useful, “real-life” words and words learners will encounter in subject- matter texts they are studying.

22 Vocabulary Development (continued)  Engage learners in using and working with the words in several ways.  Teach word-learning strategies like structural analysis, using context clues and using a dictionary.  Encourage wide reading of level- appropriate matters in varied subject- material areas.

23 In Text—Words to Pre-teach Teach those words that  Are important for comprehension of text  Are not well defined by context  Allow opportunities to apply/reinforce word-learning strategies previously taught

24 In General—Other Words and Word- learning Strategies to Teach  Signal words  Idiomatic expressions  Words in the news  Subject-matter words (e.g. science and social studies)  Roots, prefixes and suffixes  Difficult words (homographs and homophones, unfamiliar or unusual words)

25 In General—Other Words and Word- learning Strategies to Teach (continued)  Types of context clues: –Restatement or definition –Synonym –Antonym

26 Types of Context Clues  Restatement: The little girl missed her nap, so she was really cantankerous. She was grumpy and difficult all afternoon.  Definition: An advocate is a person who not only believes strongly about a cause, but also speaks up in support of it.

27 Types of Context Clues  Synonym: The team could be described as robust, very strong and sturdy.  Antonym or contrast: I’m usually gregarious, but after I lost my job, I kept to myself for several weeks.

28 Choosing Words to Teach: Another Approach Consider how useful they are—how frequently a reader will encounter them. Three “tiers” of words have been identified by Isabel Beck (2002) Beck, I. McKeown, M.G. and Kucan, L. (2002) Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York. Guilford Press.

29 Three Tiers of Words  Tier One: The most basic words that rarely require instruction (car, sad, man)  Tier Two: High frequency words for mature language users (coincidence, insistent, reluctant)  Tier Three: Low frequency words, often limited to specific domains (isotope, entomologist, lathe)

30 Prohibition The period between 1920 and 1923 is known as Prohibition Era. In 1919, the adoption of the 18th amendment made the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages illegal. Prohibition, which was a response to the public opinion that alcohol destroyed lives and disrupted families, was a great failure. Bootleggers illegally produced and distributed alcohol. Speakeasies, illegal Establishments where people could buy and drink alcohol, sprung Up everywhere. Most of this illegal commerce was run by organized crime… Excerpted from Access Critical Thinking Skills (2004). Harcourt Achieve, Inc.

31 Pre-Teach Vocabulary Teach those words that –Are important for comprehension –Are not well defined by context –Are unfamiliar or especially difficult –Apply/reinforce word-learning strategies previously taught and words that are –Signal words –Subject-matter words –Roots, prefixes, and suffixes –Types of context clues

32 Background Knowledge It’s more than vocabulary. What about the bigger concepts and bodies of knowledge to which words relate and refer? Limited knowledge of the subject matter of a text makes it hard to make inferences and use context clues. What can we do?

33 Assessing a Sample Vocabulary Lesson

34 Vocabulary Wrap Up Research Assessment Instruction

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