Vocabulary Development

Vocabulary Development

Let’s look as well at vocabulary. Now I’m from Texas or at least I live in Texas now, and so I pulled some data from 2002 but I think it still is some good information. It was from a reading initiative that was done and looking at second language learners. When we look at grades kindergarten through second this information showed that general education students learn over 800 words new words, each year which is about two a day. From third-grade up these same students learn about 3,000 words each year, which is six to eight a day. So, for our second language learners to succeed, they need to learn 2,000 new words in English per year, for grades K-2 which comes to about five to seven new words a day. And then from third up they need to learn about eight to twelve per day or four thousand per year. I don’t know about you, but those are some pretty overwhelming numbers. And so, what can we do to help our students build their vocabulary.

Well, one thing we have to consider is that we know that students who have a restricted code or a low level of oral language they’re not going to enjoy the same academic success as those who’ve mastered grade-level vocabulary. So, the key is creating strategies semantic maps and things like that to help teachers teach vocabulary in a way that they can really build up their language acquisition. So, a lot of these strategies work with General Eds students with Special Eds students, the key is really using the things available those semantic maps and things like that, to really help students master vocabulary and then to hang on to it. and not every strategy is appropriate for teaching every word, so you’ll have to determine which strategies are going to work best for students in order to maximize the results. So, one of the things that we’ve learned is that conventional methods aren’t always really successful, and when I’m talking about conventional methods, I’m talking about looking up a word in a dictionary or thesaurus, writing down the definition learning the word in isolation that really proved to be ineffective with most struggling learners. But we found that with through the National reading panel that current teachers, many current teachers who were taught in their prior schooling, that those traditional methods of looking up words in the dictionary or the thesaurus were with you, but they are the least effective methods. So, it’s ineffective for native English speakers and English language learners and they’re not going to be exposed to what they need to be exposed where to be successful. So, the words are best learned in context and there it’s best if you can provide an emotional connection. So, if you can really do something or tell a story or perhaps play some music, something that really gets the kids connected, that’s going to help them remember the information longer. If they can read multiple stories, that use the same vocabulary that’s just going to help cement even more. And then if you compare words with actions, then that’s one of the most effective ways to learn new words. So, if it’s things they could get up and do then it’s going to be even more helpful for those students, as they’re trying to really accelerate their vocabulary development.

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