The Vocabulary-Rich Classroom

Mallorie Thibault, Section B, 2/11/16


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

Importance of Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a crucial factor when children begin to read and throughout their lives. It is one of the key predictors of reading comprehension and school achievement.

4 Types of Vocabulary

1. Oral:

The words that are understood when we communicate orally.

2. Print:

The words known when we read and write.

3. Receptive:

The words understood when we listen to words or read.

4. Productive:

Words that are used during speaking and writing.

What words do we teach?

The article explained that a lot of vocabulary is not explicitly learned but it is important to look at the three tiers of vocabulary to know which words are the most important to teach to our students.

Three Tiers:

  • Tier 1: Basic words
  • *Tier 2*: Words that are key to comprehension
  • Tier 3: Low frequency words associated with specific domains or content areas

The second tier of words is where teachers should focus most of their vocab instruction.

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Word Consciousness & Vocabulary Instruction

Word Consciousness is students being aware and interested in words, their meanings, and knowing when and how new words are used.

Teachers can help students develop word consciousness and their overall vocabulary through their instruction. Teachers can do this by:

  • Modeling sophisticated vocabulary
  • Exposing the students to a word multiple times
  • Teaching both definitions and contexts
  • Engaging students in deep processing of the words they are learning or curious about
  • Incidental Learning-students learning words by listening and casual reading without any direct instruction.
  • Be a word conscious teacher! Grow your own vocabulary and use it in your classroom.

My Reflection

I really liked how this article emphasized the importance of building student's vocabulary and starting it at a young age. Vocabulary is important because we use words in every content area and all the time in our everyday life. We use vocabulary to communicate, to read, to write, to listen, and many other things. This article is important because it explains how students learn vocabulary and how teachers our important models in teaching it. After reading this article, I will now incorporate vocabulary in engaging ways in every lesson and also just incorporate it in daily routines or daily greetings. I can teach vocabulary through my modeling and can make my students curious about learning new words.

Using it in the Classroom: Guess My Word

"For new vocabulary to stick, kids need to connect new words to their world."
Teaching Vocabulary using Word Wall

Questions for Discussion

Why do you think the second tier of vocabulary should have the most vocabulary instruction?

What do you think makes a student have word consciousness?

Why is using sophisticated modeling in the classroom important versus using simpler vocabulary you know your students would understand?