The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom

Wade Davis, Section B, 2-11-16


Talking about vocabulary and how it can be properly integrated into the classroom, this article provides two classroom examples of how students learned higher-level words. Ms. Barker's kindergarten class was given jobs throughout the year. However, as the year went on, common terms like "weather man" became meteorologist following their familiarity with the easier term. Ms. Rivas's fourth grade class started every day with greeting each other and complimenting a partner. At the beginning of the year, the words used were simple, but by the end they became more sophisticate. The students even began to feel eager to learn more words.

There were also areas of vocabulary in general covered. It talked about some different types of vocab: oral (used in speaking and listening), print (used in reading and writing), receptive (recognized when heard or seen), and productive (able to understand them). With this, there are three tiers of vocab. The first one includes common words most children know. The second tier involves words related to comprehension and frequently used by mature language learners. This is the level that our vocabulary teaching should be focused on. The final tier possesses low-frequency words that are content driven and covered when encountered. Lastly, we as teachers are to challenge students, because "dumbing down" our word choice only does our students a disservice. Students are asked to relate words to their own prior knowledge and experience, allowing them to recall information better and make their learning more personal.


Vocabulary is imperative to our ability to read and have a conversation with others. Knowing how to teach students words that they will see and use will help them relate with others and understand text quicker. Giving students vocabulary-rich environments at school helps them expand their vocabulary despite what their home life might be. With words all around us, having a vast vocabulary is crucial.

My Opinion

After reading this article, I started to connect the dots as to why my vocabulary is so small. I hated reading (obviously a downfall). I also never had a teacher noticeably add big words throughout daily tasks or make us do very much work with words besides spelling or maybe writing down a definition here or there. There were always so many that I could never keep them straight. Adding words throughout students' time in the classroom will help them learn new words. It will honestly challenge me to learn more words as well; I don't want them to struggle understanding words as much as I do on a daily basis. I appreciate this article simplifying how to teach students new words through everyday tasks.
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Other Sources Over Vocabulary

The following two resources give other ways to teach vocabulary. The third one is a YouTube video about using an expanded vocabulary in the classroom.
College Talk


1.) What makes you nervous about teaching vocabulary and why?

2.) What are some other ways to integrate new vocabulary in the classroom?

3.) Do you recall any of your previous teachers teaching new vocab words? If so, what did they do and did you find it to be successful?


Cox, Janelle. "Teaching Strategies: 5 Ideas for Instructing Vocabulary." TeachHUB. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.

"College Talk." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <>.

Hansen, Randall S. "" Easy Ways to Improve and Expand Your Vocabulary. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <>.

Lane, H. B., & Allen, S. A. (2010). The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom: Modeling Sophisticated Word Use to Promote Word Consciousness and Vocabulary Growth. The Reading Teacher, 63(5), 362-370.