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Think Aloud for Vocabulary

Think Aloud is a powerful tool for teachers because it gives them a look at the thinking that goes on in the brain of a learner. It can be an especially powerful tool for modeling word attack skills. When teachers read aloud to students they can expose their word learning strategies by stopping at words students might find hard or confusing. They can think aloud about how to uncover the meaning of such words by rereading and noting the context clues, by looking at the root and affixes of the word, by remembering where they might have seen the word before, or even by stopping to look the word up. These are all strategies that students need to know and be able to use to learn new words and incorporate them into their own vocabulary.

Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy-VSS

The Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy (Haggard, 1986) is a small group activity for word learning. In this activity, students read a text selection and the teacher and each student is responsible for bringing two words to the attention of the group. Students are encouraged to choose words they have heard or seen in previous reading, but may not be able to define. Each student shares a word and talks about where it was encountered, what it might mean, and why the word would be important for the class to know. After everyone in the group has had a chance to share, the group determines which 5 to 8 words they want to target for the week. After the list is made, the teacher leads a discussion about the words to refine, clarify and extend the definitions. This discussion is critical to the process. Students enter the words and the definition (in their own words) into their Vocabulary Logs and practice the words in various activities during the week. This strategy is especially effective with students learning English as a second language. In the discussions students can explore word histories, synonyms, antonyms, and personal experiences. Because the teacher also selects words, he/she models good vocabulary learning strategies.

Contextual Redefinition

This vocabulary strategy (Cunningham, Cunningham and Arthur, 1981) will help students identify unfamiliar terms and and associate the term's meaning with its use in context. Students first determine what they think the words mean outside of the context. After students have discussed what they think the words mean, the teacher will record suggested definitions on the whiteboard or chart paper. Students will then read the assigned text, noting the vocabulary in context. Students will then discuss and revise their initial definitions based on the use of the word in the text. The teacher and students can also discuss how context affects multi-meaning words.

Websites on Contextual Redefinition: Contextual Redefinition Literacy Connects: Contextual Redefinition Contextual Redefinition pdf Contextual Redefinition Contextual%20Definition.pdf

List-Group-Label (Taba, 1967) is a vocabulary strategy where students are asked to generate a list of words, group them according to their similarities, then label the group. This would be a great companion activity for AlphaBoxes. For example, if the teacher asked students to brainstorm a list of words they associate with danger, students might list words like run, enemy, shout, gun, snake, alarm, scream, spider, warn, scare, poison, cry, siren, stranger, escape, fire, bear, and shelter. Students would group the words according to the categories they identify. Students might group the words run, shout, scream, warn, cry, and escape as things they would do if faced with danger. They might group the words enemy, gun, snake, spider, poison, stranger, fire, and bear as things that could cause danger. If words do not fit in a specific category students can either create a miscellaneous category or brainstorm new words to add to the list. This exercise allows students to practice and devlop their vocabularies without being concerned

with looking up definitions. The act of categorizing supplies a structure for students to begin learning meanings of unfamiliar words or deepening their understandings of words with which they were already familiar.