What should content-area teachers know about vocabulary instruction?
Page 5: Helping Students Actively Process Vocabulary
Reading in the content areas requires a deeper level of understanding than simply learning the definitions of vocabulary terms. If students are to learn a new term in more than a cursory way, they must actively process the word and its meaning. Teachers can help students to do this by:
- Fostering discussions about new vocabulary terms, which provides teachers the opportunity to model those terms and students time to practice their use
- Using graphic organizers for vocabulary to provide a structure for discussion and to guide students in examining important facets of the word and its relationship to other terms
- Drawing students’ awareness to the different features of words (e.g., meaningful units or
morphemes, including prefixes, roots, and suffixes)
Listen as a middle school teacher talks about how he selects vocabulary, defines and contextualizes its meaning, and fosters discussion with his students (time: 2:29).
Watch the movie to see how a seventh-grade math teacher helps her students learn how to break down words (time: 0:43).
As part of this instruction, students should discuss how the applications of the word are similar to or different from the way the word is used in other content areas. Ms. Nor does this for the word table.
|Language Arts||Table of contents|
|U.S. Government and Civics||Tabulate|
|Everyday use||Table, tablet|