More Vocabulary Instruction

My previous article about vocabulary ended with giving parents and teacher ideas on which types of words should be taught to children. The first type was important words. Important words are words that are essential to helping children understand a passage of text.

In addition to important words there are also other words that teachers and parents tune into when teaching vocabulary to children.

Useful words: These are words that children are likely to come across often in other passages of text. Teachers and parents should look for words that are not secluded to one body of text. These are words that are seen in many different forms of writing. For example when examining a body of text, a teacher would want to place more emphasis on the word fragment rather than the word fractal because fragment is used more often in text.

Difficult words: There are some words that children seem to struggle with more than other words. In many cases these are words that have multiple meanings. In some cases these words also have multiple definitions. Students may need instruction on determining which definition to choose for the word.

There are four different types of vocabulary learning. Teachers may be using any or all of the four types when carrying out vocabulary instruction.

In some cases teachers may be teaching the children a word and meaning that they do not know. This would be adding a completely new word to the child’s vocabulary.

In other cases, the teacher is teaching a new word for a concept that the students may already know. We may say that we are teaching a different way to say something that we already know. For example, the children may learn to use the word cube instead of the word box.

Sometimes the child knows the word but is not familiar with all of its meanings. Teachers may use vocabulary instruction to teach a new meaning to a word that is already known.

Sometimes teachers simply want to fine-tune a definition of a word. The teacher may be using instruction to clarify the meaning of a word that children have previously learned.

Comprehension

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