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Lawrence, Claire White and Catherine E. Snow Whole-school, context-rich vocabulary instruction is an intervention that boosts middle school students' reading comprehension. When students enter middle school, they encounter increasingly difficult textbooks and instructional materials.
Not surprisingly, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development advocates direct vocabulary instruction as an effective instructional method for enhancing students' reading comprehension.
In our work with schools to help them improve student literacy, we have observed that middle school teachers do not usually teach vocabulary.
The vocabulary instruction that does exist is fragmented among content areas, and perhaps as a resultmiddle school students often find textbooks and other academic materials unengaging.
A system of cross-content, whole-school vocabulary instruction can result in better reading comprehension. Here is what the research says about the basic components of such a system.
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Choose the Right Words When a teaching team designs and implements a program of whole-school vocabulary instruction, its most important decision is which vocabulary words to teach. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan suggest teaching not the common words that all students are likely to know or the words that students are only likely to encounter in texts for one content area, but rather general academic words.
Unfortunately, the category of general academic words has rather fuzzy boundaries. The Academic Word List www. Examples include distribute, conclusion, proceed, logical, obtain, acquire, retain, exclude, attribute, assume, capacity, enable, perspective, relevant, perceive, component, restrict, generate, distinct, assess, alter, amend, and contrast.
These words appear in their different forms in many content areas, often with varying meanings. The word distribute, for example, might occur in any text, from literature to history to math. In social studies, it might be used to refer to such concepts as the distribution of power or income redistribution.
In math, students might learn about frequency distributions or the distributive property of multiplication.
Coordinating vocabulary instruction across different content areas can help ensure that students understand the full range of uses of academic words. Although the Academic Word List is a good source of cross-content words, it provides limited information about the frequency of words that students encounter in middle school reading because it was developed using a body of materials for adult readers.
Frequency is a good predictor of word difficulty, and the most frequent words are most important to student learning. A number of word lists and tools can help teacher teams identify high-frequency words for instruction. For example, WordCount www.
McKeown, Beck, Omanson, and Pople found that students who had 12 instructional encounters with target words learned the words better than students who had only four. To provide the multiple experiences students need, we suggest that teachers select just five to seven words to focus on each week, planning at the start of each week how to embed the word into writing or debate prompts, homework assignments, quizzes, and lessons.
Cross-content teaching teams can work together, with teachers in each content area taking responsibility for providing instruction on the target words one day of the week.
Teachers are often tempted to begin and end vocabulary instruction with dictionary definitions. A good online tool is the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English www.
Definitions alone, however, are not enough. Some contexts make the meaning of a target word more transparent than others. The sentence, The boy was tardy does not provide much of a clue to meaning for a student who does not already know what tardy means. The sentence, The boy was 10 minutes tardy, so his teacher was upset with him provides much better support to help the learner infer meaning.
Because it can be difficult to immediately come up with interesting sentences that provide context for target word use, we suggest that teachers write them at the start of each week as part of lesson planning.
Encourage Use and Experimentation Most secondary teachers have encountered students who overuse vague, general words like nice and stuff in their academic discourse and writing.Vocabulary list for essay writing reviews. essay writer essay writing money is the root of all evil parmenides poema del ser analysis essay how to write a really good introduction for an essay jeremy kyle scottish Breaking barriers winning essay for college scientific background research paper linearisierung arbeitspunkt beispiel essay.
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Note: Catch is missing from this list. The editors of the American Heritage® Dictionaries are pleased to present the newest title in the best-selling Words series, Words to Make You Sound Smart. The Guide to Grammar and Writing is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, a nonprofit c-3 organization that supports scholarships, faculty development, and curriculum grupobittia.com you feel we have provided something of value and wish to show your appreciation, you can assist the College and its students with a tax-deductible contribution.
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