How To Teach Vocabulary

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Easy lessons - great results.  There's no mystery about how to teach vocabulary when you put these strategies to work in the classroom.

how to teach vocabulary word art

We know that all kids need solid instruction in developing their "toolbox of words." This is why it is critical that we incorporate solid vocabulary lesson plans into our day.

Teachers must always be keenly aware that students who do not come from a rich literacy background are already at a distinct disadvantage.

Not only do these kids not know the words, they have no idea how to break them down and use them in a meaningful way. It is up to us to try and fill the gap.  

Even if you don't love playing with words, most of your students will (if not all).  Children have an innate sense of fun and appreciation for puns, descriptive language and big words.

And then there is the necessary academic vocabulary. These are the critical words students must know to understand and succeed in certain subjects.

For example, perimeter, quotient and minuend are all necessary words for understanding the language of mathematics. Here is a simple index card game for Tier 3 academic vocabulary that your students are guaranteed to love.

Research is showing that promoting word consciousness through deliberate modeling of academic vocabulary can add depth and substance to students abilities to use and understand more sophisticated words (The Reading Teacher, 63(5), p. 362).

This leaves many teachers wondering how to teach vocabulary in the best way that promotes word consciousness.

Not to worry: here are some fabulous ideas you can implement tomorrow in your own classroom!

First Idea for How To Teach Vocabulary

1. Word of the Day

This resource comes from Primary Concepts. I have used it for four years and it is a great resource for primary teachers who need some help with their vocabulary lesson plans.

Each day there is a short story about the Wordly family that focuses on one vocabulary word. But what makes it unique is that each word is broken down into focusing on a prefix, suffix, Greek or Latin word part, etc. For example, the word "cheerful" is focused on the suffix "ful" and the students learn that it means "full of." Therefore the word "cheerful" means "full of cheer."

This is then applied to other words to help students learn how to derive word meaning from looking for the suffix and the root word.

There is not a single worksheet with it, which I love. It is very natural and I use it as part of my floor time each morning. I wrote all of the words onto index cards, underlined the focused part of each vocabulary word and we review them quickly each morning.

This is a fabulous way to promote word consciousness. By the way, I also use another resource by Primary Concepts called Idiom of the Week, and the kids find them to be hysterically funny. Again, it only takes a few minutes, but the results are amazing.

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