Vocabulary is VitalPresented by Annette Guterres & Julia Starling
What is vocabulary? All the words contained in a particular language (Cobuild dictionary) The body of words known to an individual person (Oxford Dictionary) The knowledge and use of words for oral and written language, listening, speaking, reading and writing (Annette and Julia) “When I wear high heels I have a great vocabulary and I speak in paragraphs. Im more eloquent. I plan to wear them more often.” (Meg Ryan)
How many words? The Brown Corpus, 1961, 1 million words The Oxford Corpus, from 2006 onwards: contained > 2 billion words This increases by 350 million words every yearWHERE DO THESE NEW WORDS COME FROM? Mostly from; Computing, Telecommunications and Business Also from Science, Health, Medicine, sports, Politic & Fashion etc
But…..how many words do we actually use? Average university student has vocabulary of 70,000 words of which 16,000 are in regular use (David Crystall) Other estimates are around 40,000 with 5,000 to 10,000 being used regularly Half of all writing consists of just 100 words (Oxford Corpus)
Vocabulary is Vital because… “Oral vocabulary is a key to learning to make the transition from oral to written forms, whereas reading vocabulary is crucial to the comprehension processes of a skilled reader” (National Reading Panel, 2000) Vocabulary is #4 of the 5 Pillars of learning to read (Kevin Wheldall, 2011) “Vocabulary knowledge is a cornerstone of language development and , eventually, of academic success” (Johnson & Yeates, 2006)
“Massacre” : There had been a massacre of Aborigines at Bird Creek.
Rich Vocabulary Poor Vocabulary Increased Listening and reading Poor comprehension and expression comprehension Read and express themselves lessGreater Oral and written expression and therefore have reduced exposure to new words Increased academic achievement Poor academic achievement Negative impact on life opportunities Impact on life opportunities
The GAP widens! Children with poor vocabulary (lowest 25th percentile on or entry) continue to be approx 2 grades behind in vocabulary and knowledge Year 7 students may have a working vocabulary of year 3 or 4 on entry
Word Learning: How does it happen?2 processes 1. Fast mapping- the word is linked to a referentCow = 2. Slow mapping-a) the word is extended toa category of referentsa) Knowledge of the word is strengthened through multiple uses and experiences.
Facilitating word learningSome common themes fromthe research: All 3 types of cues are needed: Perceptual, social and linguistic (spoken and written) Multiple opportunities are needed for encoding, enrichment,consolidation and retrieval before a word is truly “known”. Opportunities are provided by ALL adults: Parents, teachers, extended family and friend networks…. Hearing stories with explanations of unfamiliar words benefits vocabulary development
Word knowledge: What does it mean to “know “ a word?1. No knowledge: Never seen/heard it before2. Very general sense of connotation/meaning: Feel you know it but can’t really explain what it means.3. Context-bound knowledge: We have “learnt” a word in a single context.4. “Knowing” a word but not being able to recall it readily enough to use in a range of situations.5. “Rich” knowledge.(Beck, McKeown & Omanson)
Rich word knowledge We can define the word in a generalised way Not dependent on context (decontextualised) We can apply it in appropriate situations, with precision Breadth: knowledge of multiple meanings, metaphorical use, range of derivations Availability is “strong” i.e. ready retrieval, with well- mapped semantic connections and clear phonological specifications (i.e. We can SAY it, SPELL it and we know what it MEANS!).
Direct Vocabulary InstructionBeck, McKeown & Kucan (2002): Bringing Words to Life. Tier 1 The most everyday,basic and familiar words in our vocabulary, that rarely need direct instruction. Examples: clock, baby, happy, walk, face, sky…. **Tier 2 Words that are of high utility for language users, but that often need to be directly taught. They are of high frequency use and are found across a variety of domains. Examples: coincidence, absurd, industrious, fortunate, cultural….. Tier 3 Words that are of low frequency use, or that apply to specific domains. May be essential to learning a topic. Examples: isotope, lathe, peninsula, metamorphosis…..
Essential vocabularyRich knowledge of Tier 2/3 words can have a high impact on verbal functioning (oral and written)Decision points for prioritising: “Must know”: Essential to the learning of a topic or concept. Words should be directly and systematically taught. “Should know”: Highly significant, although not essential, to understanding the topic or concept. “Could know”: Interesting and stimulating, though not necessary for a basic understanding of a topic.
10 key words!**Realistic direct instructional contribution that will make a difference: 400 words a year (10/week) High frequency and essential Tier 2/3 words Across subjects/topics/grades Secondary Schools in LINCS Program study (University of Sydney) 10 Key Words. -Teachers across disciplines -Prioritised up to 10 essential words (“Must Knows”) when planning each new topic. -Embedded these words in all teaching -Engaged students in interactions with these words.
The Case for Direct Vocabulary Instruction for children and adolescents “at risk” Remember the GAP: we can help close it by proactive intervention. Wide reading enhances vocabulary. However, many of “our” children and adolescents are NOT wide readers. Learning differences often means that vocabulary has to be directly taught muti-modally*, to help them get to the “rich word knowledge” level.(*Remember, ideally word learning involves an interaction of perceptual, social and linguistic cues) Direct vocabulary instruction works! National Reading Panel, 2000; Graves, 2000; Wilson, Nash& Earl, 2010; Anderson & Nagy, 1991…….
6 steps to effective vocabulary instruction (Marzano, 2004)Step 1. Provide descriptions, explanations and examples of use of the new words. “Must know” words, selected as essential to a basic understanding of the new topic. No more than 10. Introduced through conversation, descriptions, explanations and examples. Try to avoid “standard dictionary and glossary definitions” (more on this later….) **Present words orally and in written form Other Tier 2 and 3 words will also be introduced as the topic evolves, but will not receive the same repeated teaching emphasis.
Step 2Students re-state the meanings in their own words Students are actively engaged in working out a useful description, and applications. Through class discussions, brainstorming, linking with prior knowledge (word and world knowledge) Active discovery of words in a variety of sources: posters, texts, worksheets, internet Goal: the storage of new words in students’ long-term memory (needs a minimum 12 repetitions)
Step 3 Students involved in creating visual (non-linguistic) representations of the words Assists in retention and later recall and use of words (rich word knowledge) Visual approach supports auditory/verbal, important for many LD children and adolescents Representations in symbols, word art, diagrams, time- lines, charts, mind maps, word webs…….
Step 4 Ensure regular exposure to the new vocabulary, so that students can review and add to their word knowledge Remember that they will move from approximate understanding at first, to firmer understanding later For true word learning, students must be able to say it and write it, appropriately Use understanding of roots, prefixes and suffixes to increase understanding Include in worksheets, quizzes, vocabulary “mix and matches”, your verbal/written presentations, classifying tasks, labels on models…… Give praise for correct use in work.
Step 5Periodic discussions of words amongst students Increases the recall and application to a range of contexts Keeps the words “alive” Encourages students’ confidence in using “new/challenging” words. Encourages application in a socially and orally interactive situation, not just for worksheets.
Step 6The “play” step: Using games as a tool for vocabulary development. Use a range of vocabulary games suitable for the classroom Fun, stimulating, increased exposure
Why “Look it up in the dictionary” may not be the best option!Students with language and literacy difficulties have problems with using dictionaries because: They have poor alphabetic skills They have poor reading ability The definitions used in dictionaries (and in glossaries*) are often incomprehensible to them, so they are no better off anyway! Danger: they may learn these definitions by rote, however have no understanding of what the word really means. *NB: Make sure the definition/description you are using in a glossary is understandable AND matches the required application!
Glossary check! Fenchial: A Fenchial person is a person of Fenchial descent who identifies as a Fenchial person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
Glossary: History Years 7-10 Syllabus, NSW Board of Studies Aboriginal: An Aboriginal person is a person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as an Aboriginal person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
What can they do instead? Morphemes (units of meaning) Break down words (root words, prefixes suffixes)Meanings of 60% of multi-syllabic words can be worked out by analysing word parts (Bromley 2007) Prefixes: pre-, un-, dis-, semi, extra- (re-, dis-, un-, and im- account for 50% of words with prefixes) Root words: history, circle, culture….. Suffixes: -able, -ing, -ly, -ar, -ism….. (-s/-es, -ed, -ing account for 60% of words with suffixes) e.g.: pre-history-ic -> prehistoric Semi-circle-ar -> semicircular Multi–culture–al –ism -> multiculturalism Un-de-cipher-able -> undecipherable Now you try….antidisestablishmentarianism!
Using the context Definition context clues: e.g. When the sun hit its zenith, which means right overhead, I could tell it was noon by the tremendous heat. Synonym context clues: e.g. Captain Jackson’s uniform was impeccable. In fact it was so perfect that she always had the highest score during inspection. Antonym context clues: e.g. The soldier was very intrepid in battle, in contrast to the person next to him who was quite cowardly. Example context clues: e.g. Tigers, lions, panthers and leopards re some of the most beautiful members of the feline family. Cause and effect: e.g. Because we lingered too long at the restaurant, we missed the last bus. General context clues: e.g. Patriotism is a very strong force in Australia. People love their country and are very proud to be Australians.
MYTHS and LEGENDS!! We shouldn’t teach children long, complex words: Not true! Most basic vocabulary (language) development is complete by the time a child is 7: Not true! Knowing a word is the same as knowing its definition: Not true! The first thing we must teach children about working out what a word means is to look it up in the dictionary: Not true!