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The Power of Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Students IRA 2008 Atlanta, GA May 7, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "The Power of Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Students IRA 2008 Atlanta, GA May 7, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Power of Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Students IRA 2008 Atlanta, GA May 7, 2008


3 IRA Background knowledge manifests itself as vocabulary knowledge. Words are labels for our knowledge packets; the more words we have, the more packets of knowledge, the more background knowledge. Robert Marzano, 2004 equality civil rights independence

4 IRA A Summation of the Research We know too much to say we know too little, and we know too little to say we know enough. Baumann & Kameenui (1991) cited in Allen, 1999.

5 IRA Indirect vs. Direct Vocabulary Instruction Indirect instruction--sometimes referred to as implicit instruction-- occurs as students read widely. Direct instruction --often called explicit instruction-- is purposefully providing practice with vocabulary words.

6 IRA Indirect Instruction Through Wide Reading Students must have the skills to infer word meaning information from the contexts they read. Struggling readers do not engage in wide reading and are less able to derive meaningful information from the context. (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002) The chances of learning a word from context are moderated by a students ability level and grade level, and the density of the text. (R. Marzano, 2004)

7 IRA Indirect Instruction Through Wide Reading Moderator Level of Moderator Chances of Learning Word AbilityLow8% Medium12% High19% Grade Level Grade 4 8% Grade 11 33% Text Density 1 new word for every 10 words 7% 1 new word for every 75 words 14% 1 new word for every 150 words 30% From Marzano, 2004, p.67

8 IRA Words in Context Think-alouds Contextual clues: Looking at the words around the unknown word Synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples, contrasts Typographic clues: Glossary, footnotes, pictures, graphs, charts

9 IRA Three Tiers of Vocabulary (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan) Tier 1Tier 1: the most basic words; require little instructional attention (happy, baby, walk) Tier 2Tier 2: high frequency; found across a variety of domains (absurd, fortunate, merchant) Tier 3Tier 3: lower frequency; often domain specific (isotope, refinery, peninsula)

10 IRA Choosing Vocabulary for Instruction How useful is the word? Will students see it in other texts? How does the word relate to other words, or to ideas that students know or have been learning? Does it directly relate to a topic of study in the classroom? What does the word bring to a text or situation?

11 IRA Depth and Breadth of Vocabulary Full understanding and use of vocabulary occurs only over time and multiple encounters. ( Beck, McKeown, Kucan, 2002) Knowing many words is to have breadth of word knowledge. A words literal meaning, its connotations, semantic associations such as synonyms and antonyms - these refer to depth of word knowledge. (August et al, 2005)

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13 IRA Allen, J. (1999). Words, Words, Words.

14 IRA Vocabulary and ELLs ELLs who experience slow vocabulary development are less able to comprehend text at grade level. They may be at risk of being diagnosed as learning disabled…due to limited English vocabulary and poor comprehension that results in part from this limitation. (August, Carlo, Dressler, & Snow, 2005)

15 IRA Vocabulary and ELLs Take advantage of students first language (if this language shares cognates with English) Ensure ELLs know the meaning of basic words Review and Reinforce Students need the opportunity to talk about reading and words (August, Carlo, Dressler, & Snow, 2005)

16 IRA Cognate Knowledge Spanish-speaking students can often call on their knowledge of cognates … to determine the meanings of words in English. The number of cognates they will encounter tends to increase with the grades as they encounter increasing numbers of words with Latinate roots, especially in their science and social studies courses. (Green, L.C.)

17 IRA False Friends Spanish: Embarazada Asistir Carpeta French: Blesser La chair Formidable German: Bald Bekommen Dom

18 IRA Dictionary Definitions (Most) dictionary definitions are not effective for learning the meanings of words. Students often take one or two words from a definition to be a words entire meaning. There are often multiple definitions; which is the most appropriate? Dictionaries often use the word itself in the definition!

19 IRA Dictionary Definitions Some examples: Skeptical - inclined to skepticism Plummet - a piece of lead or other weight attached to a line; something that weighs down or depresses; to plunge Puzzle - something puzzling; puzzled or perplexed condition; bewilderment

20 IRA Online Dictionaries

21 IRA Word Parts Prefixes: un-, dis-, re-, sub- Roots: act (do), aud (hear), vid (see) Suffixes: -ion, -est, -ology, -able unrecognizable un- = not recognize = know it when you see it -able = able to

22 IRA Allen, J. (1999). Words, Words, Words. Uninterested Not interested bored

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24 IRA Vocabulary Activities (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan) Word associations: ask students to associate a known word with a new word. Go beyond synonyms to deal with relationships. Have you ever…? Ask students to associate words with contexts and experiences from their lives. Applause, Applause! Students are asked to clap in order to indicate how much theyd like to be described by a word (and why or why not) Idea Completions: sentence stems requiring students to use words in context.

25 IRA Vocabulary Activity Write as many words as you can think of related to the solar system using the following letters: a, e, i, u, g, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, x, y

26 IRA Vocabulary Activity This activity can be used for any content area A good way to assess prior knowledge before beginning a unit

27 IRA Word Wizard Create an environment where words matter. Word Wizard encourages students to look for target words outside the classroom. A chart with the students names has check marks for each time a student brings back a word and context in which it was used. Even fabricated contexts, if used correctly, count!

28 IRA Characteristics of Effective Direct Vocabulary Instruction (Marzano) Effective vocabulary instruction does not rely on definitions. Students must represent their knowledge of words in linguistic and nonlinguistic ways. Effective vocabulary instruction involves the gradual shaping of word meanings through multiple exposures. Teaching word parts enhances students understanding of terms. Students should discuss the terms they are learning.

29 IRA GOs can be used to help students represent words linguistically and nonlinguistically

30 IRA CA Resources CA101 Topics in Education

31 IRA Call to Action Try at least one new vocabulary activity when you go back to your classroom. Let your students see you experiencing vocabulary. Have fun with words. After all…

32 IRA Words form the thread on which we string our experiences. Aldous Huxley

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