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Have Student Create a Personalized Dictionary


Reading Universal Design for Learning All Ages Strategy


Verbal Reasoning Verbal Memory

Have Student Create a Personalized Dictionary

The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.
— Samuel Johnson

Students can create a personalized dictionary of unfamiliar words they encounter while reading, during homework, in conversation, etc. so they can be sure to remember the words through multiple exposures.

How To Apply It!

  1. Use a journal, notebook or even stapled sheets of lined paper as the personal dictionary.
  2. Have it easily accessible so the student can jot down unfamiliar words as they encounter them in class discussion, while reading independently, etc.
  3. Have students write the word as they encounter it. You can agree on the appropriate time to look up and write down the definition. Having students write their own definitions (with adult support) will help them remember. This could be a daily or weekly exercise.
  4. Encourage repeated use of the words in the personal dictionary. For example, challenge students to use a new word in their work or conversation three times that day. Teachers can note students' new words and make a point of using those words in conversation. The more repetition the more likely the student will remember the word and be able to use it on his own.

Why It Works? (the Science Of Learning!)

Vocabulary is highly correlated with reading comprehension skills. Research shows that students must experience new words at least six different times and in a variety of contexts to commit words to long-term memory. Many students are likely to skip over unfamiliar words and might never learn them without a structured approach to identifying, defining and practicing new words.