Vocabulary Rich Classrooms

Kaley Taylor

Vocabulary is the "knowledge of words and word meanings"

Key Ideas from text

  • Children need to be exposed to sophisticated vocabulary daily
  • Explicit AND implicit teaching of vocabulary is crucial
  • Important to engage students in deep processing of words by setting up contexts in which students are able to make connections between prior knowledge and experiences

Sophisticated Words

  • compassionate
  • considerate
  • offensive
  • parallel
  • elaborate
  • distribute
  • appropriate

Follow 3-Tier Model when selecting words

  • Tier 1: basic words; words learned through daily interactions
  • Tier 2: words that are key to comprehension; "mature language users" ex: drowsy, curious
  • Tier 3: low-frequency words; words used only in specific contexts; should be taught as they are encountered

Questions to Consider...

1. How do we decide what vocabulary words to teach in our lessons?

2. Why is it important as educators to incorporate sophisticated language into daily routines and classroom conversations?

3. What are some things that we can do in our classrooms to promote vocabulary rich environments?


Overall, it is crucial as an educator to set up multiple contexts where vocabulary is consistently being used and built upon, moving from simple to sophisticated words. By linking new words with prior knowledge as well as providing contexts where students are able apply and practice new words, educators create a classroom environment that is centered around vocabulary instruction. As a future educator, I plan to replace simple words with more sophisticated words in various classroom contexts that make sense to the group of students that I am teaching. I will do this through explicit and implicit modeling of vocabulary words. By doing this, I am not only showing knowledge of students but also providing my students with multiple authentic vocabulary interactions.


Lane, Holly B.; Allen, Stephanie Arriaza. (2010). The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom: Modeling Sophisticated Word Use to Promote Word Consciousness and Vocabulary Growth. The Reading Teacher, Vol. 63 Issue 5, p362.

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