Building Vocabulary

Katelyn (Katie) Hamlin > Section B > 9/10/15

Main Ideas

  • Two teachers took daily routines of class jobs and morning greetings to build vocabulary
  • One of the biggest influencing factors on reading comprehension
  • There are many different levels and aspects of knowing a word
  • Three tiers of words: common words that require no instruction, words that are more mature and aid comprehension, and specialized content area words
  • Word consciousness is an interest and skill in acquiring words which can be strengthened through unstructured practice and incidental learning
  • Teachers must still be very deliberate about choosing and modeling words Over-simplifying speech beyond the introduction of a concept can be dangerous

Article Source:

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.

Spark a Discussion

Personal Reflection

I have long been amazed at the power of words. The ability to piece together an eloquent statement or a concise yet impactful piece of writing has always impressed me in students and peers. This article was a huge wake-up call for me to not bypass this incredibly crucial classroom factor. I agree with the author that it is incredibly easy to go into simple mode when speaking to children, but I don’t want to stay stuck to this habit at the expense of encouraging sophisticated vocabulary in my students. Some people might say that instruction should be delivered as simply as possible to ensure understanding, but I think that the two teachers in this article show proof that a very deliberate and gradual introduction of higher-level words can make all the difference in the language patterns of even the youngest students. I will make it a point to be very conscious of the vocabulary I bring into the classroom and how I can best support my students in making it part of their own lexicons.

Dramatic Vocabulary: Introducing Action Words

Additional Resources Just for You!

Resource one is an online kid-friendly thesaurus. It can be used in a way similar to the fourth grade teacher from the article who challenged students to start the day with new descriptive words.

Resource two is a YouTube clip of a teacher building vocabulary in one of the most authentic ways possible: through having students act out the new action words. She combines visual, auditory, and kinesthetic factors along with a story to ensure that the students are exposed to tier 2 words such as "gallop" and "graze".