Mrs. Milton's Literacy Corner

Wichita State Universtiy

Did you Know?

* That the most rapid growth of language occurs during the first 10 years of your students' life.
* During your students' school years they will gain around 3,000 new words a year.
* The more your student reads or is read to, the more words they will learn.
* To remember words children need to understand the meaning in their own way.
* The English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn because there are so many words included in it, and its still growing!

How to Deepen Your Students' Understanding of New Vocabulary

  • Visualize and Draw Words: Have your student draw an image or association for a new term that they have learned so that they can remember it more easily. It works well to have them make vocab cards using index cards to write the word on one side and a picture of the meaning on the other. These can then be used for individual practice or for practicing with others!
  • Vocabulary Notebooks: These are a step further than the index cards by having students keep all newly learned words in one notebook. It is set up as a dictionary with every new word they learn under they proper letter. Depending on age and ability a definition, personal understanding, and/or picture can be placed in the dictionary for each word.
  • Practice Vocabulary: It is important to remind your student to practice using their new vocabulary in every day situations. Many children do not realize that it takes effort to remember all the new words that cross their paths!
  • Watch for Words: Help your student look for new and interesting vocabulary words in everyday life. T.V. ads are great ways for your student to identify new words. For example a commercial about absorbent towels provides great visual contexts for understanding what the word absorbent means.
  • Practice Using Context: When reading with your student at home practice using context clues to find the meaning of unknown or unfamiliar words. We play a game in class named cloze in which ever 5th or 10th word is deleted and then students must then use the surrounding words to decide what word is missing. This can be a fun game to play at home with your student.

Are Dictionaries Important?

However, it is important that students learn how to use the dictionary and find their way around them before using one as their primary source of information. Research has shown us that simply having students write the words and its' definition does not engage a student in learning a new word. Also, if students are not familiar with using a dictionary they tend to struggle in deciding which definition to select. Simply being able to copy the definition does not automatically provide a student with the understanding of that words' meaning.
If a situation arises in which your student needs to look a word up in the dictionary then please help be a guide for them through the process. Apply some of the previously mentioned techniques to the newly learned word and remember to incorporate their new vocab into everyday language!!!