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TASK 1: THEORY AND TECHNIQUES

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Read the attached article and discuss these questions:
1. Do you agree with the reasons for teaching vocabulary given in the article? Why?
Add more reasons for teaching vocabulary that you feel are relevant to your
students.
2. Choose one suggested strategy and explain why you think it would work with your
students.

article

http://www.giftedguru.com/strategies-teaching-vocabulary-theory-technique/

Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary: Theory and Technique

FEBRUARY 28, 2017 BY LISA VAN GEMERT

Strategies_for_teaching_vocabulary: theory_and_techniques
The theory and techniques for teaching vocabulary may not be as fun as the ideas that I’ll share in
the next post or as perusing the books in the last post, yet this is the theory applicable to all ages
and types of readers. It is the knowledge that will enable you to choose the right activities and
strategies for your content and grade level.

Purposes for Teaching Vocabulary:


In my experience, we teach vocabulary for a variety of reasons. It’s important to identify vocab
instruction in your teaching practice by considering why you are doing it. That will help you
determine which theories and techniques you should use (or at least try).

Reasons include:

 Improving reading comprehension in general.


 Improving subject-specific mastery and performance.
 Improving writing and speaking skills.
 Test preparation (SAT, ACT, etc.).
 Deepening students’ ability to put their thoughts into the most appropriate word possible.
 These techniques and theories are in no particular order.

Some Strategies_for_teaching_vocabulary
The Four Components
Michael Graves argues that there are four components of an effective vocabulary program:
Teach individual words: Teach new words explicitly, meaning on purpose. Make sure students
understand the definition. Make sure the definitions are in student-friendly vocabulary. It doesn’t
help you to understand a word if you don’t know the words in the definition, either. Show the word
in a variety of contexts. Have students generate their own definitions. Have them engage with the
words interactively, playing with them. Vary the methods so you’re not teaching the same way for
every word.

Provide rich and varied language experiences: We need reading, listening, speaking, and writing
experiences across multiple genres. Yes, there is math poetry. Read out loud to students. Encourage
book clubs and reading challenges. The idea: create an environment saturated with words.

Teach word-learning strategies: Teach students how to infer word meaning from context clues.
Teach students how to infer meaning from morpheme clues. Teach students how and when to use a
dictionary and a thesaurus. We can’t assume that students know the strategies they need to make
sense of words.

Foster word consciousness: Point out useful, beautiful, powerful, or painful lessons. Be playful with
words.

Six Step Model of Vocabulary Introduction


Step one: The teacher explains a new word, going beyond reciting its definition (tap into prior
knowledge of students, use imagery).

Step two: Students restate or explain the new word in their own words (verbally and/or in writing).

Step three: Ask students to create a non-linguistic representation of the word (a picture, or symbolic
representation).

Step four: Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word (compare
words, classify terms, write their own analogies and metaphors).

Step five: Students discuss the new word (pair-share, elbow partners).

Step six: Students periodically play games to review new vocabulary (Pyramid, Jeopardy,
Telephone).

EASE Method
Enunciate new words syllable-by-syllable and then blend the word.
Associate the word with definitions and examples that students already know.
Synthesize the words with other words and concepts that they have already studied and they have
the opportunity to demonstrate deep knowledge of the new word.

Emphasize new words in classroom discussion.


What Doesn’t Work
Kate Kinsella’s ideas of what doesn’t work include:

1. Incidental teaching of words

2. Asking, “Does anybody know what _____ means?”

3. Copying same word several times

4. Having students “look it up” in a typical dictionary

5. Copying from dictionary or glossary

6. Having students use the word in a sentence after #3,4, or 5

7. Activities that do not require deep processing (word searches, fill-in-the-blank)

8. Rote memorization without context

9. Telling students to “use contextual clues” as the first or only strategy or asking students

to guess the meaning of the word

10. Passive reading as a primary strategy (SSR)

Watch a video of her teaching about vocab instruction and find related activities here.