Developing Vocabulary

Mrs. Kiphart's 3rd Grade Class

Everything you need to know about Vocabulary

Children add about three thousand words a year to their reading vocabularies during school. The more children read and are read to, the more words they encounter and the more familiar these words become. To build student's vocabularies and flexibility with language, student's must learning at their zone of proximal development. Zone of proximal development is using language that is just beyond what students themselves use.

What is Mrs. Kiphart Doing to Help my Child?

In my classroom, I hope I have provided a safe and stimulating environment for your children to question, explore, and take risks in their learning. I provide a variety of intructional routines such as interactive readings and shared readings. I highlight 3-5 important new words that have usefulness beyond the book. To build both interest and knowledge we, as a class, explore each new important words meaning, give examples, and talk about our own ideas and feelings with words and concepts.

During social studies, science, and math, I provide explicit intructions to academic vocabulary. To test student's knowledge, I provide a pre-assessment over the words we will be learning, and a post-assessment to see what we still need to work on. I draw students attention to words before they encounter them so when we read their main focus is on the text.

For students who are stuggling with vocabulary knowledge, I have them do a spelling assessment. This can help identify areas of weakness. From this I can plan specific sets of activities that are used to immerse students in word work. This includes sorting the targeted academic terms into categories or grouping by word parts and pronouncing the terms. I try to draw associations for the terms by making it fun and meaningful. Some writing in response to focus questions that require the use of new terms is also used in building students' awareness of how terms can be used.

Strategies to Help Comprehension

Every student has a vocabulary notebook. Each new word we come across is added to the notebook. These words are organized by the story and topic from which they came. Students descibe these new terms using their own words. Along with a notebook, each student also has vocabulary index cards with a word and explanation on one side and a picture that illustrates the word meaning on the other. These are color coded by content. It is a great tool for students to study individually or as partners.

Think-Pair-Share is a model I like to use because every child has to participate and use thier listening and speaking skills.

A Word Wall is posted in the front of the classroom where students can view during the day. I like to highlight a few new words and phrases by putting them on the bulletin board so that the class can return to them later.

I like to use Vocab-O-Gram and Story Impression before reading. During Vocab-O-Gram I list words that are associated with the elements of a story: setting, plot/conflict, and resolution. As a class we read through words orally, then they work with partners to determine where they theink the words fit. Students then write out a sentence prediction. During Story Impression I list words and phrases that are used in the book in order in which they occur. Students then make their own predictions of the story by using these words and phrases in a paragraph. These can be fun to read and it allows students to be creative.

Cloze deletion procedure is a strategy I use to help students use surrounding context and prior knowledge to supply a likely word replacement. This is useful towards the end of multiple day lesson.

Each student is responsible for his/her own learning. Rate Your Knowledge is a tool I use before, during, and after lessons. If we have been focusing on a particular subject matter, I will first have the students rate their knowledge over the words. If the lesson continues into the next day or two I have students rate their knowledge of the words again. This checks for comprehension. After the lesson has finished I have them rate their knowledge a third time to see who needs one-on-one practice.

Books to Read With Your Child

How Can I Help at Home?

Things to do at Home

  • Positive affirmation. As I use in the classroom, so should you at home. Draw your child's attention to well-expressed ideas.
  • Focus on vocabulary used in your own home or books your read to your child. Make sure to use teir two words. These are words used in written texts and found quite frequently so they have general utility if learned. These are not everyday words or specific to a particular contexts or content area.
  • Preview the texts. When you read to your child, flip through the pages to see what they think will happen in the story. Make sure you have read this story so that you can point out key words that might cause confusion. Take time to talk about these words.
  • Watch commercials mindfully. Many times, meanings can be derived from the visual and verbal context as we see and hear language. Television ads are particularly engaging ways to identify new words; i.e. commercial for absorbent towels provide great visual contexts and understanding what absorbent means. Pick out these words and discuss them with your child.
  • Read often and regularly! They don't have to read a book. Have them read news magazines, short stories, poetry, etc. Just get them in the habit of reading so they build their vocabulary knowledge.