Vocabulary exists in our long-term memory. The process of
learning a new word is first to notice and enter it into short-term memory and
then to work with in ways that will make it part of the lexicon stored in
long-term memory. Sophisticated readers constantly add new words to their
vocabularies, but they have been developing their vocabularies over many years.
These readers have learned powerful strategies for noticing important new words
and deriving their meaning.
You cannot expect less sophisticated readers, and certainly
not struggling readers, to pick up all their vocabulary from context as they
read or even when they hear texts read aloud. Along with having students read
lots of texts, you can use some simple techniques to help them learn the
meaning of words:
- Introduce them to a wide range of words in interesting
- Make sure they encounter a new word many times.
- Make sure they encounter a new word in many
- Provide explicit vocabulary instruction related
to each text they read.
- Discuss word meanings with them.
- Teach them how to recognize the important words
in a text.
- Help them recognize and use meaningful morphemes
(word parts in longer words).
- Teach them to use context to derive the meanings
- Teach them to use the dictionary or glossary as
an aid to verifying meaning.
them integrate previously known definitions with new ones as they meet them in in
them use new words in discussion and in writing.
them to make connections between words to understand their meaning.
them understand words that are used figuratively.
them develop deliberate strategies for leaning words.
persistence and recognize success.
From When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works by
Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2009 by Irene C. Fountas and
Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.