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Picture Dictionary

MARCH 2015

Whats a Word?
A word is ___________________, and the form relates to phenomena in the world (or more
specifically, to referents in the universe of discourse) via mental concepts, which seem to be fuzzy
categories centered on what are called prototypes.

How do children learn vocabulary?

Most vocabulary is _________________ but some vocabulary must be ________________.

Indirect Learning
These are typically three ways children learn vocabulary indirectly.
1. First, they participate in oral language every day. Children learn word meanings through
________________ with other people, and as they participate in conversations, they often
hear words _________________________. The more conversations children have, the
more words they learn.
2. Another, indirect way children learn words is _______________. Reading aloud is
especially powerful when the reader pauses during reading to define an unfamiliar word
and, after reading, engages the child in a conversation about the book.
Conversations about books help children learn new words and concepts and relate them
to their ___________________and experience (Partnership for Reading, 2001).
3. The third way children learn new words indirectly is__________________________. This is
one of many reasons why many teachers feel that daily independent reading practice
sessions of 10 to 20 minutes are so critical (Krashen, 1993).

It is important for students to understand that social meaning often goes beyond the literal
meaning of words translated from their L1 (Spanish in this case). There are words that are
not acceptable to use because they reflect and reinforce negative perceptions of people. The
line between acceptable and offensive is not necessarily the same as in the first language
and native culture, and what is considered acceptable often changes over time. For example,
in Mexican Spanish, the term mojado is often used to describe undocumented immigrants
living in the U.S., but in English, the terms wetback and illegal (as noun) are extremely
offensive and should never be used.

Direct Instruction
Direct instruction helps students ________________ (Johnson, 2001), such as words that
represent complex concepts that are not part of the students everyday experiences (National
Reading Panel, 2000). We also know that when a teacher pre-teaches new words that are
associated with a text the students are about to read, better reading comprehension results.

Teaching Vocabulary
Vocabulary refers to _________________________________ that we want students to learn.
Vocabulary instruction refers to the planned presentation of these items to students with the
expectation that they will learn to ______________ as active vocabulary or remember their
meaning when they are seen in a _______________ (passive vocabulary).

Choosing Target Vocabulary

 Constructing Lexical Sets
 From Easy to Difficult
 From Familiar to Less Familiar
 From Frequent to Less Frequent
 From Concrete to Abstract or Complex

A lexical set is ____________________________________________. Students learn words better

when they are presented in a logical context, where they can attach
______________________________________________they already have about a particular topic.
Good categories for lexical sets include: colors, fruits and vegetables, classroom objects, zoo
animals, forms of transportation, city places, etc. Remember to include verbs as well, for example,
classroom actions, free-time activities, and daily routines.
How many words? As teachers, we can be overly ambitious when we choose words for a
lexical set. It can be easy to pack in as many words as possible because we feel that they
are all important. However, students can only practice and learn to use a small number of
words and later review for the words that you teach, so a good balance is necessary. Older
students are generally able to learn slightly larger groups at one time, but in the case of
phrases and abstract vocabulary, it is best to stick to a reduced number. (The exact number
per set will always depend on your students needs and abilities, but ten words per set is a
good guideline to start with). Students will also see a few new words that you can explain in
the moment related to the theme or your lexical set. If you do not include these in practice,
testing, and review, they will be passive vocabulary for the student: words they are more
likely to recognize in the future. You should decide ahead of time which words students will
learn as active and passive vocabulary.


Vocabulary Presentation, Review and Expansion

Vocabulary is not learned by_________________________________. Telling a student the
meaning of a word does not mean that he or she has learnt it. Students need a clear
__________________ and repeated, varied exposure to vocabulary in order to learn it and, later
on, _____________ without thinking about it.
 Word Transformations
 English Outside of Class

For all of this to happen, they need frequent review. Review is also needed, though, on a
________________ later on. In addition, students cannot express increasingly more complex ideas
without larger vocabulary. For this, we have vocabulary expansion. This refers to vocabulary
presentations that build on students___________________.

Integrating Knowledge and Skills

 Integrating different aspects of English in a balanced way can be compared to eating a
large ice-cream cone. You cannot focus too heavily on just one aspect of language; the
cone will drip on the other side and make a mess. A balanced approach is necessary.
 Ultimately, when people use language, they do not use________________; they do not
use only speaking or only vocabulary. They use whatever combination of
____________________ is necessary to communicate, interpret the world around them,
and accomplish everyday tasks.

When working with listening activities, it is important to remind students that they will not
understand every word, and that it is OK. Encourage them to focus on the information
required for the task. Always have transcripts on hand for students who need extra help after
they have attempted the task without it.

Looking back
English language learning is a complex and ambitious task that is easier to achieve by developing
the skill areas and vocabulary. No classroom activity depends exclusively on one skill or another;
rather, skill instruction is normal language instruction with a focus on a particular skill or aspect of
English. Students can learn strategies for using the language that they already know to speak,
write, read, and listen more effectively. We can give them a better framework for learning
vocabulary, as well, so that they can learn to identify patterns in language on their own and
continue learning independently. By taking the time to focus on specific skill areas in isolation and
in combination, through integrated activities, students can become successful language learners,
able to use English in a wide range of situations to accomplish a variety of tasks.

 Primary Methodology Handbook, Practical Ideas for ELT, Richmond Publishing .
First Edition 2014.
 The Essentials of Teaching Children to Read, by D. R. Reutzel |R.B. Cooter Pearson Allyn
Bacon Prentice Hall.
2005 edition.
 Teaching and Learning Vocabulary: Bringing research to Practice, edited by Elfrieda H.
Hiebert and Michel L. Kamil Lawrence Erlbaum 2005.
 Teaching and Learning Vocabulary, by Nation, I.S.P. Boston Heinle&Heinle Publishers
 Reading in a Second Language: Moving from theory to practice, by Grabe, W. Cambridge
University Press 2009.

Links suggested