Vocabulary-Rich Classroom

Jessica Parra section B

What is it

Creating a classroom with a vocabulary rich environment can seem like a duanting task. You, as the teacher, have to think about how you are going to word things, when you are going to substitue in new words, and then how you are going to have the students explore and experience the new words. Based on the article, slow intergration seemed to be the best tool. The students grasp the meaning of every day words such as happy and nice first and then the teacher starts to introduce synonyms that are more complex such as joyous and kind. This helps the students understand when and how to use the words.

How to

Like I said above, slowly introducing the students to new words is a great way to expand their vocabulary. By building on the students scaffolding of how words work, the teacher is able to slip new words into the daily routine. In my article, the kindergarten teacher started using pass out and distribute interchangeably until she felt the students had made a connection to the meaning of distribute, she completely stopped using the word pass out.

The goal

The goal of creating a vocabulary-rich classroom is to get students to truely understand the meanings of words, how to use them in casual conversation and in written text from, how to use the words in their writting and how they can help the students with their reading comprehension. Students that come from lower SES families or high risk families are not exposed to the same word experiences that students from more privileged backgrounds get. This is why teachers need to take those opportunities during instruction to add new words and expand the students thinking, peak their curiosity. We need to encourage our students to be curious with words and to not be afraid to try and use new ones inplace of others they may be more familiar with. The goal of the teachers in the article was to get the students comfortable with the new words, comfortable enough to use the new vocabulary terms in their every day conversations.

“So what's the point of using words nobody else knows or can say comfortably? I just don't understand that.” ― Stephen Chbosky


How can you see yourself expanding your students vocabulary?

Would you make time to find the synonyms to the frequently used words in your classroom?

Are you willing to take the time to create lessons that use new vocabulary interchangeably? It is a time consuming process but it is worth it to see and hear the students understanding and using what you have taught them.

How can we make time for vocabulary instructions in the classroom?

How can we avoid "dumbing down" our vocabulary that we use in the classroom?

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. Retrieved February 9, 2016.