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Developing Vocabulary & Enhancing Reading Comprehension
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  1. Developing Vocabulary &Enhancing Reading Comprehension SPC ED 587 October 25, 2007

  2. Vocabulary Development • Children typically learn approximately 3,000 words per year! (that’s 7-10 words a day!!!) • Students gain new vocabulary through school (instruction) and through family activities, trips, hobbies, reading independently, etc. Tompkins, 2007

  3. Vocabulary: words a child understands and uses in listening, speaking, reading, and writing • Listening vocabulary - words a child understands when s/he hears them spoken; includes words that the child understands but may not use in his or her everyday conversation • Speaking vocabulary - words students understand and routinely uses when speaking/communicating • Reading vocabulary - words a child can read and understand • Writingvocabulary words child understands and can use when composing text.

  4. Assessing Vocabulary Knowledge • Formal testing • Classroom-based assessment • Observation

  5. Stages of Word Learning(adapted from Dade & O’Rourke, 1971) • I never saw it before! • I’ve heard of it or I can pronounce it, but I don’t know what it means. • I recognize it in context • I know it.

  6. Teaching Vocabulary • Indirectly • Conversations • Preteaching content words for a unit • Teacher read-alouds* • Reading independently • Directly • Direct instruction on a small number of meaningful words at a time, across time • Instruction that requires active participation • Learning to use resources (e.g., dictionaries) * “Researchers report that children learn as many words incidentally while listening to teachers read aloud as they do by reading themselves.” (Stahl et al., 1991 as cited in Tompkins, 2007)

  7. Word Wall targeting specific content vocabulary for a unit.

  8. Teaching Vocabulary • Build on what students know and relate new words to students’ lives/experiences • E.g., Word Watch • Look up words that have entered English via students’ own linguistic background (e.g., tornado: Spanish: tornar [to turn]) • Teach for depth and breadth • E.g., What it Is and What it Isn’t • Use engaging activities to create interest • E.g., Word Posters

  9. Teaching Vocabulary: More ideas • Word Study • Concepts and meanings • Multiple meanings • Compound words • Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, figurative meanings • Word Walls, Word Maps • Word Sorts – adapt these for meaning or use • Quiz Me Cards & Definition Cards (see Keefe chapter in the text)

  10. Example of Word Map What is it? What is it like? • sharp teeth • bushy tail • sneaky An animal fox What are some examples? Hattie And the Red Fox Rosie’s Walk Henny Penny The Gingerbread Man p. 187,Tomkins, 2007

  11. Teaching Vocabulary • Provide repetition and systematic review • “children need to read, write, and/or use words 8-10 times or more before they can automatically recognize them and remember their meanings” • Teach for independence • Teach use of resources (asking peer/teacher; looking up a word, etc.)

  12. Comprehension is “The Point” of Reading “. . . reader’s process of using prior experiences and the author’s text to construct meaning that is useful to that reader for a specific purpose.” (p. 252) That is, comprehension is an ACTIVE process.

  13. Theories of Comprehension • Schema Theory • Mental/Situation Models

  14. Factors Affecting Comprehension • Decoding and fluency skills • Vocabulary • Background knowledge • Academic vs. conversational vocabulary • Understanding the structure of written language • Processing abilities • Understanding the purpose for reading a particular text • Cognitive abilities/skills

  15. Teachers who were excellent at facilitating comprehension: • Built language at every opportunity • Activated/built students’ background knowledge (schema) • Provided a purpose for reading • think-alouds • Followed up on that purpose after reading • Taught prediction • Continuously motivated students to read for meaning • Taught strategies to identify the main idea