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Vocabulary Instruction. Strategies for Word Meaning, Not Word Memorization. Literacy Vision Statement.

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vocabulary instruction

Vocabulary Instruction

Strategies for Word Meaning,

Not Word Memorization

literacy vision statement
Literacy Vision Statement

Aiken County Public Schools demonstrates an unwavering commitment of the educational community to embrace their responsibility for ensuring that each student at any level becomes a successful reader and writer.

what s the difference
Word Study

Phonics skills

Spelling patterns

Vocabulary Instruction

Word meaning

Contextual framework

What’s the difference?
group chat
“Group Chat”
  • Why do we teach vocabulary?
  • What is our ultimate goal in vocabulary instruction?

Our answers to these questions should be the guiding force of how we structure our vocabulary instruction…

what the research says
What The Research Says

The scientific research on vocabulary instruction reveals that (1) most vocabulary is learned indirectly, and (2) some vocabulary must be taught directly. The following conclusions about indirect vocabulary learning and direct vocabulary instruction are of particular interest and value to classroom teachers:

Children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral and written language.

Although a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some vocabulary should be taught directly.

National Reading Panel

strategies to discuss
Context clues

“Would you…” cards

Making Choices

Word Splash!

Is/Is Not

Whole/Part/Whole diagrams

Picture cards

Concept Cards

Graffiti Walls



Ordering Words

Constructing Words

(prefixes, suffixes)

Selecting Words (prefixes, suffixes)

Multiple Meaning Maps

Probable Passage

Strategies to Discuss

Model for students how they can “break free” of the dictionary through Shared Reading, read alouds, small group instruction, Independent Reading, etc.

would you rather cards
“Would You Rather…” Cards

(Beck, McKeown, Kucan, 2002)

making choices
I’ll say some things. If they would be considered “quiet”, put a thumbs up:

Going to church

Going to a football game

Going to sleep

Riding a roller coaster

I’ll say some things. If they would be considered “ferocious”, put a thumbs up:

A quiet kitten

A roaring lion

A thundering storm

Making Choices

(Beck, McKeown, Kucan, 2002)

word splash
Word Splash
  • Select a few key words from the text
  • Put words on chart paper or Smartboard
  • Students write what they know about a word prior to reading text
  • Students write what they learned about the word after reading the text
word splash17
“Tacky The Penguin”



“Thank You Ma’m”




Word Splash
is is not vocabulary strips
Teacher Prep-

Divides sentence strip into three sections

Pre-selects words to be studied and writes word in middle on sentence strip (students can also select words from their own reading to do a sentence strip on)

Writes “Is” (synonym) on left section of sentence strip and “Is Not” (antonym) on right side


Reads book that contains word being studied

Writes a synonym for the word on the left side of the sentence strip

Writes an antonym for the word on the right side of the sentence strip

Illustrates “Is” and “Is Not” words

Is/Is Not Vocabulary Strips


Is Not


whole part whole diagrams
Whole/Part/Whole Diagrams
  • Select a word: compound, prefix, suffix
  • Write word at top of paper
  • Write what the parts of the word mean
  • Puts the meaning of the parts together to form a definition
picture cards
Picture Cards
  • Write a word on the front of an index card
  • Draw a picture on the back of the card
  • Write a simple definition of the word
  • Select key vocabulary words from the text and put on index cards
  • Give 1 card to a small group of students
  • Students spend 3-4 minutes preparing how to silently act out the word
  • Students act out word in front of class
  • Class guesses the word
  • Students tell WHY they acted the way they did












  • Tea Act
  • Sugar Act
  • Stamp Act


  • Tea Act
  • Sugar Act
  • Stamp Act
word scales words






“Word Scales” Words
  • Odd
  • Different
  • Unique
  • Mad
  • Upset
  • Furious
constructing words
Constructing Words
  • Index cards of prefixes, suffixes, and root words selected from previously read text
  • Put cards in a plastic bag
  • Students match the prefix and/or suffix with the root word
  • Students use the text to find the word and discuss/write how it was used
  • Students can write their own sentence using the constructed word







selecting words
Selecting Words
  • A person who is acting poorly is:misbehaving, misled, mistreated
  • A person who is always ready for anything is:

predicted, prepared, prevented

multiple meaning maps
Multiple Meaning Maps
  • My brother caught the bug in his insect net.
  • My brother really bugs me when he sings loudly in the shower!


multiple meaning maps29
Multiple Meaning Maps
  • Driving on a highway) There's a tollbridge ahead. Do you have any quarters?
  • The highway death tollhas declined sharply since police began to enforce the drunk driving laws more aggressively.
  • The bell in the old church tower tolledfour o'clock.



Kindergarten & 1st

2nd and 3rd

4th and 5th

(Beers, 2003)

  • Beck, I., McKeown, L., Kucan, L., (2002). Bringing word to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York, NY; Gillford Press.
  • Beer, K., (2003). When kids can’t read: What teachers can do. Portsmouth, NH; Heinemann.
  • http://people.bu.edu/jpettigr/Artilces_and_Presentations/Vocabulary.htm