It’s Jen Bengel here from Out of this World Literacy. If you’ve ever wondered why students are not retaining new vocabulary words that you read to them, it may be because they need more than to listen to books with great vocabulary. They need direct vocabulary instruction. This is true for all students but its especially true for our students learning English as a second language. There are so many words in the English language and each word has its own meaning. There are several layers of meaning to words meanings too. Today let’s think about 5 big reasons why taking just 15 minutes a day to intentionally teaching vocabulary is so critical for our students.
1. Attention to vocabulary in a consistent curriculum will result in an increase in a students’ verbal functioning. It’s not enough to read books to our students that have a really rich vocabulary in them. That’s great, but they actually need direct instruction and how to take those words out of that book and apply them into their own lives.
2. In order for students to use and understand words in the context of reading and writing, it will require robust instruction. They require examples of those words; they require us to be thinking outside of just the context of a book.
3. “Students need to develop an interest in and an awareness of words in order to adequately build their vocabulary repertoires.” That quote comes from Beck, Mckeown, and Kukan from “Bringing Words to Life”. This is a really great quote because they really need to be interested in these words. They can’t just hear them, they have to be interested in, build an awareness of them, and really understand them to be able to add them into their vocabulary banks.
4. Once they begin becoming interested in these words students begin to own words and apply them to all aspects of their daily lives. When you start teaching instruction in a very intentional way you’ll actually see and hear your student using the words. They’ll use them in their oral language when they’re talking to there friends. They’ll use them for writing as writers.
5. The last reason to teach vocabulary intentionally each week is to develop a lifelong love of words through lively and fun daily instruction with the students. Once you begin to teach vocabulary intentionally each week, students will begin to fall in love with these words and only will want to learn more.
I hope these five big reasons for teaching vocabulary in your classroom help you think more deeply about the value and importance of a direct vocabulary instruction curriculum. If you teach in grades 3 – 6 and would like to try a free week of vocabulary instruction that has all the planning done for you and takes just 15 minutes a day click here!
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