Vocabulary instruction is vitally important to advanced reading comprehension and writing. Words are the foundations of our language. Students learn the words they need to converse, read, and write in three key ways. First, students learn academic vocabulary through wide reading in a variety of genre at their instructional level. Simply lots of reading does not improve vocabulary. What is read determines what is learned. It may be that most teachers need to increase the textual complexity of class novels and assigned independent reading to maximize vocabulary growth. Second, students improve their vocabulary from becoming more efficient in recognizing context clues and applying the context clue categories to making educated guesses as to the meanings of unknown words. Looking up every word in the dictionary is not advisable. Third, learning high frequency Greek and Latin roots/affixes builds academic vocabulary. Greek and Latinates are found in 50% of all English dictionary entries.
Following are articles, free resources, and teaching tips regarding how to teach vocabulary in the intermediate, middle, and high school grades from the Pennington Publishing Blog. Also, check out the quality instructional programs and resources offered by Pennington Publishing.
Vocabulary Scope and Sequence
Is there any research about the instructional order of Tier Two words…? Yes. Furthermore, computer generated word frequencies have determined the frequency of Greek and Latin word parts. Check out the Grades 4-8 Vocabulary Scope and Sequence. Teachers and district personnel are authorized to print and share this planning tool.
How to Teach Vocabulary
How to Teach Vocabulary asks and provides possible answers to the How Do the Common Core Authors Suggest We Teach Vocabulary? Why Should We Teach Explicit Vocabulary? Won’t Students Learn More from Independent Reading? Which Vocabulary Words Should We Teach? To Whom Should We Teach Academic Vocabulary? How Much Class Time does it take to teach the Common Core Vocabulary Standards? Check out the grades 4-8 instructional vocabulary scope and sequence.
Research-Based Vocabulary Worksheets
The educational research provides insight as to what makes a vocabulary worksheet an effective instructional strategy for knowledge and/or skills acquisition. Get examples of Common Core aligned vocabulary worksheets.
Common Core Academic Language Words
Yes, the Common Core authors view literacy development as a mutual responsibility of all educational stakeholders. Yes, history, science, and technology teachers need to teach domain-specific academic vocabulary. However, there is a difference between academic language and academic vocabulary. The latter is subject/content specific; the former is not. Reading more challenging expository novels, articles, documents, reports, etc. will certainly help students implicitly learn much academic language; however, academic language word lists coupled with meaningful instruction do have their place. So, which word lists make sense?
Common Core Greek and Latinates
The bulk of Vocabulary Standards are now included in the Language Strand of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Greek and Latin affixes (prefixes and suffixes) and roots are key components of five of the grade level Standards: Grades 4-8. Which Greek and Latin affixes and roots should we teach? How many should we teach? How should we teach them?
Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) is part of a comprehensive Grades 4-8 language program, designed to address each Standard in the Language Strand of the Common Core State Standards in 60-90 weekly instructional minutes. This full-year curriculum provides interactive grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling lessons, a complete spelling patterns program, language application openers, and vocabulary instruction. The program has all the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets, each with a formative assessment. Progress monitoring matrices allow teachers to track student progress. Each instructional resource is carefully designed to minimize teacher preparation, correction, and paperwork. Appendices have extensive instructional resources.
Overview of the Common Core Language Strand
English-language arts teachers have long been accustomed to the four-fold division of our “content” area into Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. These divisions have been widely accepted and promoted by the NCTE, publishers, and other organizations. In a nod to the fearsome foursome, the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts maintains these divisions (now called strands)with two notable revisions: Speaking and Listening are combined and Language now has its own seat at the table. So who exactly is this new dinner guest? For those just beginning to explore the CCSS Language Strand, an overview may be helpful.
How to Teach the Common Core Vocabulary Standards
What most teachers notice after careful reading of the Common Core Vocabulary Standards is the expected breadth, complexity, and depth of instruction across the grade levels. These vocabulary words require direct, deep-level instruction and practice in a variety of contexts to transfer to our students’ long-term memories. So which instructional strategies make sense to teach the Common Core Vocabulary Standards? And what is the right amount of direct, deep-level vocabulary instruction that will faithfully teach the Common Core Vocabulary Standards without consuming inordinate amounts of class time? Following is a weekly instructional plan to teach the L.4, 5, and 6 Vocabulary Standards.
Why Vocabulary Lists Don’t Work
Teaching vocabulary word lists does not work. The strategy of giving twenty words on Monday and testing on Friday is both inefficient and ineffective. However, three instructional strategies do make sense to help students improve their vocabularies.
How to Improve Your Vocabulary
Knowing common Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes will significantly improve one’s vocabulary. In fact, over half of the words in any dictionary contain a Greek or Latin word part. Academic language especially relies on Greek and Latin. This article gives the high frequency word parts to improve anyone’s vocabulary.
How to Teach Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes
Prefixes, roots, and suffixes: These word parts that are, indeed, the keys to academic vocabulary—the types of words that students especially need to succeed in school. However, most teachers do not know the best instructional methods to teach these important word parts. Learn the techniques that work best.
Context Clues Vocabulary Review Game
This context clues vocabulary review game helps students apply the five major context clues categories to informed word guessing. Using the Pictionary® game, students drawing context clues according to the five categories.
Vocabulary Word Part Games
Students are more likely to use study and practice procedures that are “game-like” and less boring than simple rote memorization. Here are some fun and effective vocabulary word part review games.
Vocabulary Review Games
Students are more likely to use study and practice procedures that are “game-like” and less boring than simple rote memorization. Here are some fun and effective vocabulary review games.
Top 40 Vocabulary Pet Peeves
Here is the list of the Top 40 Vocabulary Pet Peeves that make Americans see read. Read, laugh, and cringe over mistakes that you or your friends make when abusing these words.
How to Memorize Vocabulary
Many people want to improve their vocabularies, but memorization and retention are the key roadblocks. Not everyone has a natural ability to memorize. However, memorization is a skill that can be learned and improved upon with commitment and practice.
How to Teach and Learn Precise Vocabulary
Memorizing words with precise denotative and connotative definitions is important. Sloppy use of our language inhibits effective communication and leads to misunderstandings. Learn the techniques to teach vocabulary with precise meanings.
The Problem with Most Vocabulary Instruction Part I
Most teachers teach vocabulary inefficiently. Learn the common mistakes that teachers make in vocabulary instruction and how to re-orient vocabulary instruction to help students make real gains in vocabulary acquisition.
How We Learn Vocabulary from Reading Part II
Most vocabulary beyond the first ten thousand words comes from independent reading. Wide reading of challenging academic text produces the greatest net vocabulary gain.
How to Double Vocabulary Acquisition from Reading Part III
Refining the skills of context clues strategies will help readers increase vocabulary. Wide reading of challenging academic text is the most efficient method of vocabulary acquisition.
More Articles, Free Resources, and Teaching Tips from the Pennington Publishing Blog
The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics and include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.
Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) program.
The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).
Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)
Grades 4-8 Programs
Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills