Vocabulary is like everything else we do in early childhood. It’s not a one shot deal, but a myriad of experiences that create each child’s language tapestry. And they are all as bright and beautiful and colorful as the individual children that you teach!
I hope you will find some vitamins this month to spark word ownership in the coming year!
I’ve had several requests recently for workshops that focus on vocabulary and oral language. Why? Vocabulary has taken a back seat in literacy instruction, but research continually highlights the relationship between vocabulary and comprehension as children progress in school. According to research:
PUT READING FIRST is my “go to” when it comes to the essential components of reading instruction. (This is a free book that you can download at nifl.gov. You’ll find additional references at the end of this article.) Here’s a brief summary of what they say about vocabulary instruction.
EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE - what children say and write.
Speaking vocabulary – words children use when they speak.
Writing vocabulary – words children use when writing.
RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE - what children hear and read.
Listening vocabulary – words children need to know to understand what they hear.
Reading vocabulary – words children need to understand what they read.
Reading aloud to children is the most powerful thing you can do to improve children’s receptive and expressive vocabularies. Through the language of books children are exposed to words that they would probably never hear in daily conversations. Books open the door to visit places they’ve never been, meet characters they’ve never met, and have experiences beyond the home and classroom.
Let’s see what vocabulary skills the Common Core State Standards recommend:
-With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
-Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on age level reading and content.
-Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
-Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.
-Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
The information in this month's activities will help you to complete the "how" with your students. You can teach vocabulary indirectly, and your students can learn vocabulary directly. Word study should be a big part of your students' experience.
Use the items in the menu at the top left as part of your Vocabulary Vitamin regimen, and check back for a new YouTube video coming soon.