Sunday, March 19, 2017

5 Tips to Increase Vocabulary Instruction

I recently read a quote that tied 80% of students' reading comprehension test scores directly to knowledge of vocabulary.  Unfortunately, this hasn't translated into increased vocabulary instruction in most schools.  Despite the obvious positive impact vocabulary instruction may have on student success, many classroom teachers say they don't have the time to fit it in. Although I am certainly NOT an expert, I have learned a few tricks to increase vocabulary instruction in my classroom.

1) Word of the Week- Students find words of interest in their reading and write those words on index cards.  Each week, I select 2 words that become our "Words of the Week."  We learn the meaning of the words and try to use the words in our conversations and writing.  From the words we have chosen, we make a class book to use as a resource in future writings.




2) Focus on Prefixes and Suffixes- We learn word parts throughout the year and often have them posted on the board.  We make lists of words that have the same prefix or suffix. Students love to find prefixes and suffixes in their reading and point them out to others.

3) Student Word Collectors- Each student has a book in his or her book box that is a "Word Collector." When interesting words are found, they are written in the student's personal book.  These books are used as references for writing, reading, and spelling.



4) Teach "Expand Vocabulary"- I use The Daily 5 and The Cafe frameworks in my classroom.  The E in Cafe stands for "Expand Vocabulary."  Under this heading, I teach the students several strategies for learning unknown words and expanding their vocabularies.

5) Model Through Think Alouds- It's important for students to see how we as adults utilize the skills we teach.  When reading to students, let them see you "get stuck" on a word and work through the process of figuring it out.  Be sure to explain your thinking so that students can apply the same process on their own.

6) Poem of the Week- We have one poem that we read everyday for a week.  The main purpose of this is for fluency, but we also use it for phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction.  Poems often have rich vocabulary words that can be hi-lighted and studied closely.



Knowing that vocabulary acquisition is so important to the success of my students keeps me looking for ways to improve my own instruction.  What tips can you share for vocabulary instruction?

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