Vocabulary Rich Classroom

Understanding the importance of vocabulary

Vocabulary in the classroom!

Julie Godlewski
Section C

Name of article: Vocabulary Rich Classrooms by Holly B Lane and Stephanie Arriaza Allen


The role of vocabulary:

  • very important for reading
  • Predicts how well students will comprehend their reading
  • needs multiple exposures or it won't stick



“knowing a word is not an all or nothing thing.”



Students learn about 3-4,000 words per year


4 types of vocab:
1. oral: understand when people say it or read it to you
2. print: can read or write it
3. receptive: understand when we listen or read
4. productive: we can say it in speaking or writing


Teaching New Words:

  • need background knowledge
  • modeling
  • practice


DO NOT DUMB DOWN A STUDENT!!!
...this means...only using vocabulary you think is easy enough for your students to know. This is a perfect opportunity to teach next vocabulary words to your student!
example: picture --> illustrator

Weather Watcher

  • class would start the day on the carpet for circle time and 4 students would have a role
  • one of the roles was called "weather watcher"
  • student went outside and had to say if the weather was sunny, cloudy, or rainy.
  • by February the role went from weather watcher to meteorologist
  • the descriptive words changed too. sunny --> brisk, muggy, ect.
  • learned through repetition and modeling


Affable Annie
  • teacher had students turn to partner in the morning and great them and say something nice.
  • beginning it was "hi, you are very funny."
  • later the descriptive words started to change as their vocabulary grew.
  • teacher would say "Annie is very affable" or "Tom is virtuous"
  • students wanted to know what she called them so they would look it up
  • helped expand their vocabulary

My opinion:
I thought that this article was extremely helpful. What I enjoyed most were the two examples used for teaching vocabulary. They would be strategies I would use in my classroom. I also love the quote that "vocabulary is not an all or nothing thing." This is so true! When i hear this i think of knowing a root or suffix of a word and being able to use context clues to figure it out. Vocabulary is so important for people and this article definitely outlines that.

I thought that some other ways to use vocabulary are:
word walls, photographs, wordless ABC books, apps



Additional resources:

word wall: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/word_walls

techniques for instruction: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-vocabulary-elementary-gaetan-pappalardo

activities: http://www.cobbk12.org/cheathamhill/LFS%20Update/Vocabulary%20and%20Word%20Walls.htm



Questions for reader:

What is one way you could in cooperate vocabulary in your lessons?


What role does background knowledge play for vocabulary?


What are ways your past teachers have used vocabulary instruction? Were they effective?



APA Sources:

Jones, D. (n.d.). Vocabulary Activities. Retrieved September 9, 2015, from http://www.cobbk12.org/cheathamhill/LFS Update/Vocabulary and Word Walls.htm

Lane, H., & Allen, S. (2010). The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom: Modeling Sophisticated Word ... Retrieved September 9, 2015.