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15 Feb 2015

Vocabulary Matters: 5 Facts, Actions, and Resources

The building blocks of complex text are facility with words and their meanings and background knowledge. The way to ensure both word knowledge and world knowledge is to increase the amount of well-designed vocabulary instruction in classrooms as well as the amount that students read. This session provides the five most critical facts about vocabulary that can transform student learning. Each fact is accompanied by an action that educators can take right now and a link to an open-access resource on the web for supporting that action. 

Word Fact Word Action Open-Access Resource
1. Texts have more rare words than talk and English has more words than can be taught.  1. Teach students to expect new words in texts. 1.  Talking Points for Teachers:  New Words in New Texts
2. Small group of words does heavy lifting in text. 2. Expose students to many topics & increase reading volume.  2.  FYI for Kids, Talking Points for Kids, SummerReads
3. Words are part of networks—synonym sets in narratives and topically related words in informational texts 3. Teach networks of similar-meaning words (stories) and networks of concepts in topics (informational texts). 3.  •Synonym Clusters in Narratives:  Super Synonym Sets for Stories (S4) & Exceptional Expressions for Everyday Events (E4)•Topical Clusters in Informational Texts:  Word Pictures--Core Vocabulary & Content Areas
4. Words are part of families. 4. Teach words in families. 4. S4 & E4
5. Concrete words are learned faster than abstract ones. 5. When appropriate, teach new concepts with pictures. 5.  Word Pictures--Core Vocabulary, Literature Words, Content Areas