DEVELOPING VOCABULARY AND
By: Ashley Hildebrant and
“TEACHING WORDS WELL MEANS GIVING
STUDENTS MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO DEVELOP
WORD MEANING AND LEARN HOW WORDS ARE
CONCEPTUALLY RELATED TO ONE ANOTHER IN THE
TEXTS THAT THEY ARE STUDYING.”
3 TYPES OF VOCABULARY
1. General Vocabulary- consists of words with
acknowledged meanings in common usage.
2. Specialized vocabulary- is made up of words from
everyday life, general vocabulary that takes on
specialized meanings when adapted to a particular
3. Technical Vocabulary- consists of words that have
usage and application only in a particular subject matter
EXPERIENCES, CONCEPTS, AND WORDS
Words are labels for concepts however; a single concept
represents much more than a single word.
What does it mean to know a word? Depends on how
well we understand the relationships among direct
experiences, concepts, and words.
Learning is much more intense and Meaningful when it
develops through the child’s first hand experience.
WHAT ARE CONCEPTS?
Concepts create a mental image, which may represent
anything that can be grouped together by common
features or similar criteria: objects, symbols, ideas,
processes and events. Common Element or relationship.
Concepts are similar to schemata!!
For EVERY concept there is an example!!!
USING GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS TO MAKE
CONNECTIONS AMONG KEY CONCEPTS
A graphic organizer is a diagram that uses content
vocabulary to help students anticipate concepts and
their relationships to one another in the reading
STEPS IN MAKING A GRAPHIC ORGANIZER FOR A
Analyze the vocabulary and list the important words
Arrange the list of words
Add to the Scheme vocabulary terms that you believe the
Evaluate the organizer.
Introduce students to learning tasks
As you complete the learning task, relate new information
to the organizer
ACTIVATING WHAT STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT WORDS
Graphic organizers can be used to activate the
student’s prior knowledge of the vocabulary words
in the given assignment or study unit and also
clarify their understanding of concepts as they
A GRAPHIC ORGANIZER CAN BE USED IN MANY
To show the relationship in a thematic unit in a chapter or
To build a frame of reference for students as they
approach new material
Activate prior knowledge of the vocabulary words in a
text assignment or unit of study
Clarify their understanding of concepts as they study text
Word exploration is a writing to learn strategy that works
well as a vocabulary activity.
A word exploration activity invites students to write
quickly and spontaneously, a technique called free
The purpose of free writing is to get down on paper everything
a student knows about a topic in just a few minutes. This
activity will activate schema and long term memory.
HOW TO ACTIVATE WHAT STUDENTS KNOW…
Brainstorming, List-Group-Label, Word Sorts, Word
Walls and Knowledge Ratings are also great
activities to activate what students know about
Word walls provide easy
access to words students
need. The specific
organization of the word
wall will match the
The most helpful word
walls grow and change
throughout the year and
are used as a learning
get readers to
analyze what their
prior knowledge is
about the topic.
DEFINING WORDS IN THE CONTEXT OF THEIR OWN
Sometimes students have a hard time knowing
what certain words mean and how they are used in
the materials they are reading. There are two
strategies that help with clarifying what words mean
and how they are used.
VSS- VOCABULARY SELF COLLECTION STRATEGY
Promotes long term acquisition of language in an
academic discipline. Steps:
Divide the class into teams of two
Present the word each team has selected to the
class ( where it’s found, what team thinks it means,
why the team thinks class should learn it)
CD WORD MAPPING- CONCEPT OF
DEFINITION WORD MAPS
provides a framework for
information in the
process of defining a
CD word map instruction
supports vocabulary and
concept learning by
internalize a strategy for
defining and clarifying the
meaning of unknown
REINFORCING AND EXTENDING VOCABULARY
KNOWLEDGE AND CONCEPTS
Students need many experiences, real and vicarious to
develop word meaning and concepts. They need to use,
test, and manipulate technical terms in instructional
situations that capitalize on reading, writing, speaking,
In having students to do these things, you create the
kind of natural language environment that is needed to
extend vocabulary and concept development. There are
many activities that can be used to develop these skills.
RTI framework helps
teachers plan lessons so
that students can learn
vocabulary concepts as
they relate to their
understanding of the text.
RTI supports thoughtful
vocabulary instruction that
allows each student to
There are also some
activities examples that help
extend and reinforce
vocabulary knowledge and
Semantic Feature Analysis
(SFA) – establishes a
meaningful link between
students’ prior knowledge and
words that are conceptually
related to one another. As a
teaching activity, SFA is easily
suited to before or after reading
Showing learners how to construct meaning for
unfamiliar words encountered during reading helps them
develop strategies needed to monitor comprehension
and increase their own vocabularies.
Demonstrating how to use context, word structure, and
the dictionary provides students with several basic
strategies for vocabulary learning that will last a lifetime.
USING CONTEXT TO APPROXIMATE
Constructing meaning from context is one of the most
useful strategies at the command of proficient readers.
Showing readers who struggle how to make use of
context builds confidence and competence and teaches
the inquiry process necessary to unlock the meaning of
troublesome technical and general vocabulary
encountered during reading.
Typographic Clues, Syntactic and Semantic Clues,
Logographic Cues are helpful tools to help struggling
CONTEXT- RELATED ACTIVITIES
Readers who build and use contextual knowledge are
able to recognize fine shades of meaning in the way
words are used. They know the concept behind the word
well enough to use that concept in different contexts.
Modified Cloze Passages
Students pair off into groups but they complete a
sentence exercise individually and once completed,
convince their word choice is the best.
The best choice must have a reasonable defense.
OPIN reinforces the role of prior knowledge and
experiences in the decisions the group makes.
EX- Charts and graphs are used to _____ information
In addition to emphasizing context as a vocabulary
building strategy, showing learners how to approximate
word meaning through word structure is another
important aspect of vocabulary building.
A word itself provides information clues about its
meaning. The smallest meaning in a word is called
morpheme. Analyzing a words structure, morphemic
analysis, is a secondary vocabulary building strategy that
students can use to predict meaning.
THE DICTIONARY IS A GREAT SOURCE FOR
The uses of context and word structure are strategies
that give struggling readers insight into the meanings of
unknown words. Rarely does context or word structure
help learners derive precise definitions from keywords.
When a reader doesn’t understand the meaning of a
word, the dictionary is a great resource for students.
One way to make a dictionary functional resource is to
use it to verify educated guesses about word meaning
revealed through context or word structure.
TIPS FOR HELPING STUDENTS USE A DICTIONARY:
Help students determine the “best fit” between a
word and its definition.
If you assign a list of words to look up in the
dictionary, list them selectively.
Help students with the pronunciation key in the
glossary or dictionary as the need arises.