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Provide Extra Vocabulary Instruction


Reading 21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Expressive Language Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory Abstract Reasoning

Provide Extra Vocabulary Instruction

Sometimes a single word can make all the difference.
— Joyce Meyer

Given the direct correlation between vocabulary and comprehension, it is important that students receive formal and ongoing vocabulary development if their vocabulary or comprehension is not at grade level.

How To Apply It!

  1. It is estimated that students need to experience a new vocabulary word a minimum of six times to commit it to long-term memory.
  2. Teach words in a variety of formats, beyond just the definition, to give it context and relevance, including speaking and writing it in a sentence, and identifying synonyms and antonyms. Vocabulary webs can be helpful for the most important or challenging words.
  3. Reinforce new words on at least six different occasions to ensure retention. Spaced repetition is key, both through explicit instruction and repeated exposure in different contexts. Traditional vocabulary flashcards can be a great option.
  4. For challenging or abstract words, associate the word with a picture (an actual drawing or visualizing) or draw a connection to a known word to help remember through association.
  5. For students who need extra reinforcement, consider having them create a personalized dictionary to keep track of new vocabulary while reading or during class discussion.
  6. Have students practice in pairs, as it is shown to be far more effective than working on vocabulary independently.
  7. Most students can learn vocabulary just as effectively using apps and websites as they can with paper-based tools and there are plenty of great options.

Why It Works? (the Science Of Learning!)

If a word is not in a student's oral vocabulary, it will not be understood when they see it in print. Strong vocabulary is crucial to strong reading comprehension skills. Research shows that most students must experience new words a minimum of six different times, in a variety of contexts, and over multiple sessions to commit them to long-term memory.