Teaching Vocabulary

Intentional, Explicit Instruction

Lynn Figurate
Riverside County Achievement Team Indio, CA


Session Goals
• Review scientifically based reading research on vocabulary • Review research-based methodology for vocabulary identification strategies • Practice direct vocabulary instruction for specific words and word parts • Rehearse the strategies of how to use context clues and the general mood to determine the meaning of unknown words • Develop a collaborative culture by sharing best practices

Figurate Out
• Discuss with your partner: "Paula put down her pirn, wrapped herself in a paduasoy, and entered puerperium." − Story about birthing − Pirn — tool for weaving − Paduasoy — silken robe of Japanese style − Puerperium — the time that was the beginning of labor to birth

The Five Pillars of Reading Instruction
• Phonemic awareness • Phonics • Fluency • Vocabulary • Comprehension

• Framework for Reading •

Word Recognition Strategies Concepts of Print
Phonemic Awareness

Academic Language
Background Knowledge
Syntax & Text Structure


Comprehension Strategies
Comprehension Monitoring

John Shefelbine/Developmental Studies Center [See p. 20 of the CA Reading/ELA Framework]

(Re)organizing Text


Sight Words



Research About Vocabulary
• Kindergarten students’ vocabulary size is a predictor of comprehension in middle school (Scarborough, 1998) • Students with poor vocabulary by third grade have declining text comprehension scores in fourth and fifth grade (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990) • A school emphasis on word identification skills in the early grades without emphasis on books with challenging vocabulary results in poor reading comprehension in middle elementary students (Becker,

• Vocabulary instruction has a strong connection to comprehension (McKeown, Beck, Omanson, & Perfetti, 1983) • Pre-instruction of words gave students 33 percent greater contextual understanding (Jenkins, Stein, & Wysocki,

Words Heard in an Hour
• Poverty: 615 words • Middle class: 1,251 words • Professional: 2,153 words
Hart and Risley, 1995

Registers of Language
1. Frozen
Language that is always the same

2. Formal
The standard sentence syntax and word choice of work and school

3. Consultative
Formal register when used in conversation

4. Casual
Language between friends that is characterized by a 400- to 800-word vocabulary

5. Intimate
Language between lovers or twins
"Reprinted with permission from aha! Process, Inc. www.ahaprocess.com"

Where Do We Find Those Rare Words To Increase Our Vocabularies?
• Printed Text − Newspapers - 68 − Adult books - 52 − Comic books - 53 − Children's books - 30 • Television − Adult shows - 22 − Children’s shows - 20 − Cartoons - 30 • Adult Speech − College grad - 17
Hayes & Ahrens, 1988

NRP Recommendations
• Taught directly and indirectly • Repetitions • Rich context • Active learning (thinking) • Use multiple vocabulary instruction methods
NRP, 2000

Choosing the Right Words
• Tier-One Words • Tier-Two Words
− Basic words o run, ball, is

• Tier-Three Words

− Academic words − Found in many curriculum areas o vocabulary, example, create, impossible − Content words − Low-frequency words o nutrient, cellophane, photosynthesis
Beck and McKeown, 1985

Some Words To Teach
F re q u e n t A c a d e m ic W o rd s
h ttp ://w w w .v u w .a c .n z /la ls /d iv 1 /a w l/fre q u e n t.h tm l A v e ril C o xh e a d M A (V U W ) E m a il: A v e ril.C o xh e a d @ v u w .a c .n z S u b lis t 1 o f 1 0

a n a lys is a p p ro a c h a re a assessm ent assum e a u th o rity a v a ila b le b e n e fit concept c o n s is te n t c o n s titu tio n a l c o n te xt c o n tra c t c re a te d a ta d e fin itio n d e riv e d d is trib u tio n e c o n o m ic e n v iro n m e n t e s ta b lis h e d e s tim a te e v id e n c e e xp o rt fa c to rs fin a n c ia l fo rm u la fu n c tio n id e n tifie d in c o m e in d ic a te in d iv id u a l in te rp re ta tio n in v o lv e d

is s u e s la b o r le g a l le g is la tio n m a jo r m e th o d occur p e rc e n t p e rio d p o lic y p rin c ip le p ro c e d u re p ro c e s s re q u ire d re s e a rc h re s p o n s e ro le s e c tio n s e c to r s ig n ific a n t s im ila r s o u rc e s p e c ific s tru c tu re th e o ry v a ria b le s

(Refer to packet for copies.)

Direct Vocabulary Instruction― Teaching a Word
Definition Examples Explanation Nonexamples



Questions and Answers

(Refer to packet for copies.)

Teaching a Word
1. Select a word
• • Find “Goldilocks” words Parts of speech

2. Find a good definition
• Choose a student-friendly dictionary
− − Longman Dictionary of American English Newbury House Dictionary of American English www.dictionary.com www.wordsmyth.net

Explore e-resources
− −

Teaching a Word
3. Provide a student-friendly explanation or description of the word
• Teacher and students decide together

4. Present examples of the word used in contexts different from the story context
• Use synonyms if possible

5. Give nonexamples of the word
• • Use antonyms if possible Predict what students may confuse in the definition or explanation

Teaching a Word
6. Provide a nonlinguistic representation of the word
• • • • • Drawing pictures Physical models Kinesthetic activity Graphic organizers Mental pictures/keyword method
Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001

Teaching a Word
Solicit questions and answers to check for understanding 8. Put the new words in a Vocabulary Log 9. Provide multiple exposures to target words through rich instruction 7.
• Semantic mapping/nascent nomenclature
− − − − − nurse, thermometer, germs virus, anesthetic, prescription syndrome, placebo, litmus slow-fast hard-easy

• Linear arrays/word lines

Direct Vocabulary Instruction― Word Parts
Word parts include prefixes, roots, and suffixes
• Building a bridge to other vocabulary words • Introspective

− Prefix: INTRO―within or inward − Root: SPECT―look − Suffix: IVE―to tend to or to lean toward
• Definition―to tend to look inward

Word Parts―Frequency of Prefixes
The Most Frequent Prefixes in The American Heritage Word Frequency Book, Carrol et al., 1971
unrein-, im-, ir-, il- (not) disen-, emnonin-, im- (in or into) over- (too much) mis-

Words with the prefix
782 401 313 216 132 126 105 98 83

White, Sowell, and Yanagihara (1989) contend that only these nine need to be systematically taught.

Teaching Prefixes
Day 1: Introduction and four
facts about prefixes Day 2: Explicit instruction on the first three prefixes Day 3: The prefix removal and replacement strategy and three more prefixes Day 4: Review and assessment on the four facts about prefixes, the steps of the prefix removal and replacement strategy, and the meanings of the six prefixes taught

Baumann and Kame’enui, 2004.

Indirect Vocabulary Instruction― Context Clues
1. Repeated, multiple exposures • To learn a word in context, students need to be exposed to the word at least six times
Jenkins, Stein, & Wysocki, 1984

2. SCANR technique • Substitute a likely synonym for the unknown word • Check the context for clues that support the choice • Ask if the substitution fits the context clues • If not, determine if it needs a new idea • Revise the idea so it better fits the context
Jenkins, Matlock, and Slocum, 1989

Context Clues
3. Categories of Natural Context

There’s a wireless and lots of books.

Paula put down her pirn, wrapped herself in a paduasoy, and entered puerperium.

General Context
Eagles eat carrion mostly in the winter, when other food is hard to find.

Directive Context
Eagles have talons, or claws, to help hold slippery, wriggling fish.

Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002

Context Clues Strategies
1. Definitions or synonyms
• Look for words or phrases that mean about the


Concrete examples
• •

same Usually follow a comma, a dash, or words like or, is called, that is, in other words


Description clues
• •

The author provides examples to clarify a difficult concept or idea Look for signal words: such as, including, for instance, to illustrate, are examples of, for example The author may use many sentences to describe a word Keep reading. Sometimes the meaning is in the next paragraph

Materials from Reader’s Handbook: A Student Guide for Reading and Learning, Grades 6-8, by Laura Robb et al. copyright © 2002. Displayed with special permission of Great Source Education Group/Houghton Mifflin Company. All Rights Reserved.

Context Clues Strategies
4. Contrast clues

5. Unstated or implied meanings

Look for the opposite meaning or a situation that illustrates the opposite meaning Sometimes you have to use what you know to figure out what the author is trying to say Writers like to make sure we know the meanings of hard words so they use the word a number of times
Adapted from Reader’s Handbook, Great Books, 2002.

6. Repeating words

Indirect Vocabulary Instruction― General Mood Look Inside, Look Out

Inside the word

Outside the word

Word Parts

Prior Knowledge

Context Clues

General Mood
Herman & Weaver, 1988

Summing Up Vocabulary
• Vocabulary is important because
− readers use their oral vocabulary to make sense of the words they see in print − readers must know what most of the words mean before they can understand what they are reading

• Vocabulary can be developed
− indirectly, when students engage daily in oral language, listen to adults read to them, and read extensively on their own − directly, when students are explicitly taught both individual words and word-learning strategies
Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read, 2001