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Vocabulary:

Defining Best Practice in


Reading First Schools
Part 1

Georgia Reading First

Todays Goals

Learn about how children acquire


word meanings
Examine research findings on
vocabulary instruction
Learn about vocabulary instruction
during read-alouds

What are some ways elementaryschool children learn new vocabulary?


What are some ways your teachers
typically teach new vocabulary?

What is vocabulary?
Modality

Domain

Speaking vocabulary
Listening vocabulary
Reading vocabulary
Writing vocabulary
General vocabulary
Technical vocabulary
Meaning vocabulary

50K
45,000

40K
30K
20K
10K
0

17,000

5,000
1,500

12

Vocabulary levels diverge


greatly during the primary
years, and virtually nothing
effective is done about this
in schools. (p. 29)
Andy
Biemiller
Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades.In J.F. Baumann &
E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 2840). New York: Guilford.

Oral vocabulary at the end of first


grade is a significant predictor of
comprehension ten years later.

Cunningham, A.E., & Stanovich, K.E. (1997). Early reading


acquisition and its relation to experience and ability 10
years later. Developmental Psychology, 33, 934-945.

Four Obstacles to Acquiring a


Large Vocabulary
1. The number of words in English is very
large.
2. Academic English differs from the kind
of English used at home.
3. Word knowledge involves far more than
learning definitions.
4. Sources of information about words are
often hard to use or unhelpful.

Stahl & Nagy (2005)

How do we learn words


from experiences?

gavagai

An aborigine points to a running rabbit


and says Gavagai. Can you infer the
words meaning?

Each encounter with a word helps


a child narrow its meaning. For
example, if he next hears the word
gavagai used to refer to a sitting
rabbit, the child will infer that
running is not connected with the
meaning.

Young children learn word meanings


from one-on-one interactions with
parents and siblings. These
interactions may be rich or poor.
Consider two examples based on
Hart and Risleys (1995) comparison
of families of different socioeconomic
levels.

Yeah.

Do I have to
eat these?

Motherese
Yes, because
they have
vitamins that
will help you
grow and get
stronger.
Do I have to
eat these?

Echo student talk, using


richer vocabulary.
I wrote this.

Wonderful. I hope
you told me exactly
what you saw on
your trip to the zoo.

What are some strategies we


can use to increase childrens
access to rich oral language
during school?

What does it mean


to know a word?

A Continuum of Word Knowledge


No knowledge
A vague sense of the meaning
Narrow knowledge with aid of context
Good knowledge but shaky recall
Rich, decontextualized knowledge,
connected to other word meanings

A Continuum of Word Knowledge


No knowledge
A vague sense of the meaning
Narrow knowledge with aid of context
Good knowledge but shaky recall
Rich, decontextualized knowledge,
connected to other word meanings

The Reading System (Adams)


Context
Processor

Lexicon
Meaning
Processor

Orthographic
Processor

Reading

Writing

Phonological
Processor

Speech

lexicon
That part of long-term memory
devoted to word knowledge

How is a word stored


in the lexicon?

cat

cat

c-a-t
/kat/

meow
4 legs
pet

cat

c-a-t
/kat/

animal

meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

animal
mammal
meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

animal
mammal
meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

animal
mammal

dog

meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

animal
mammal

dog

meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

animal
mammal

dog

meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

Dual Coding Theory


Two systems are involved in learning words.
One contains verbal information, the other nonverbal (images). When we learn a word, realworld images that we associate with the concept
are also stored. Accessing a word in the lexicon
therefore involves both the verbal system and
non-verbal (imagery) system.
~ Moral ~
When teaching new words, use pictures and
other images where possible.

animal
mammal

dog

meow

cat

4 legs
pet

c-a-t
/kat/

lion

The Nonverbal
(Imagery) System

New meanings and even new


pronunciations of a word may be
added to a childs lexicon over time.
prduce

prodce
produce

Raw veggies

to make

lean
To rest
one
object
against
another

To rely on
another
person
for
support

Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades.In J.F. Baumann &
E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 2840). New York: Guilford.

Is wide reading enough?

Why Wide Reading


Is Enough
Vocabulary size and
the amount a child
reads are correlated.
Direct instruction
cannot possibly
account for the number
of word meanings
children acquire.

Why Wide Reading


Is Not Enough
Context is generally
unreliable as a means
of inferring word
meanings.
Most words occur too
infrequently to provide
the number of
exposures needed to
learn them.

Marzano, R.J. (2004). The developing vision of vocabulary instruction. In J.F.


Baumann & E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to
practice (pp. 100-117). New York: Guilford.

There is no obvious reason why


direct vocabulary instruction and
wide reading cannot work in
tandem.
Marzano (2004, p. 112)

The Vocabulary
Catch-22
Children need to learn more words to
read well, but they need to read well to
learn more words.

Perhaps one of the most important


reasons why teachers need to pay
attention to vocabulary is that
vocabulary knowledge is cumulative.
The more words you know, the easier
it is to learn yet more words.

Stahl & Nagy (2005)

What about context


clues?

Four Types of Contexts


1. Directive (provides powerful clues)

Sue was talkative but Bill was taciturn.

2. General (helps categorize a word)

Shed had measles, mumps, and varicella.

3. Nondirective (offers very little help)


The dress was taupe.

4. Misdirective (can be misleading)

He was huge, muscular, and adroit.


Beck & McKeown (2004)

Teaching Students about Context


Remind them that context does
not always provide strong clues.
Remember that many students
may have difficulty making
inferences about words from
context.
Model the process when possible.

Beck & McKeown (2004)

Some Types of Semantic Clues


The vole, a small rodent, has a short tail.
Sue was adroit but Bill was clumsy.
The soup was hot scalding, in fact.
Periwinkle was her favorite color.
The room was disheveled. Clothes and dirty
dishes were everywhere. Chairs were
overturned, and trash littered the floor.
Series
Would you like cake, peach pie, or a flan?
Mood
The day was dull and dark. Clouds hung low
and a feeling of melancholy was everywhere.
Experience A pair of crows cawed raucously.
Expression He was as famished as a bear.
Definition
Antonym
Synonym
Example
General

Edwards, E.C., Font, G., Baumann, J.F., & Boland, E. (2004). Unlocking word
meanings: Strategies and guidelines for teaching morphemic and contextual
analysis. In J.F. Baumann & E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction:
Research to practice (pp. 159-176). New York: Guilford.

How do I know which


words to teach?

Two characteristics that make a word


inappropriate for teaching:
1. We cant define it in terms that the
students know.
2. The students are not likely to find the
word useful or interesting.
Beck & McKeown (2004)

Beck and McKeowns Three Tiers


Tier 3

Tier 2

Tier 1

Rare words
73,500 word families K-12
Often content-area related
Examples: isotope, estuary
Important to academic success
7,000 word families
Not limited to one content area
Examples: fortunate, ridiculous
The most familiar words
8,000 word families
Known by average 3rd grader
Examples: happy, go

Beck and McKeowns Three Tiers


Tier 3

Rare words
73,500 word families K-12
Often content-area related
Examples: isotope, estuary
Tier 2
Important to academic success
7,000 word families
Not limited to one content area
Examples: fortunate, ridiculous
Tier 1
The most familiar words
8,000 word families
Known by average 3rd grader
Goldilocks
Words
Examples: happy, go
Stahl & Stahl, 2004

How intensive should


vocabulary instruction be?

Three Types of Words


To Teach

Graves, M.F. (1986). Vocabulary learning and instruction, In


E.Z.Rothkopf (Ed.), Review of research in education
(Vol. 13, pp. 49-91). Washington: AREA.

1. Words already in the students oral


vocabulary, which he or she needs to
learn to recognize in print.
These are words that a child needs to learn to
decode or recognize by sight. (Stahl & Nagy,
2005)

2. Words not in the students oral


vocabulary, but which are labels for
concepts already familiar to the student.
The student may need to learn that apologize
means to say one is sorry, or that elaborate means
pretty much the same as complicated. These
words may represent different shades of meaning
from their synonym, but knowledge of the more
frequent synonym will usually get a reader through
a text containing that word. The different shades
will be learned through continued exposure. Less
intensive instruction may suffice. (Stahl & Nagy, 2005)

3. Words not in the students oral


vocabulary that refer to concepts new to
the student.
For example, the student may not know the word
osmosis, or feudalism, or exponential. In such a
case, it is not simply a matter of not knowing the
word: The student is likely to be totally unfamiliar
with the concept. In this case, a definition or other
brief explanation is unlikely to help. Rather, a
teacher would need to spend a great deal of time
examining such concepts. (Stahl & Nagy, 2005)

Known Concepts not Yet


Associated with New Words

W3

W2

Words in Oral
Vocabulary

W1

Known Concepts not Yet


Associated with New Words

W3

W2

Words in Oral
Vocabulary

W1

Known Concepts not Yet


Associated with New Words

W3

W2

Words in Oral
Vocabulary

W1

Known Concepts not Yet


Associated with New Words

W3

W2

Words in Oral
Vocabulary

W1

What are some of the


guiding principles of
teaching vocabulary?

Guiding Principle

Preteach key words to


improve comprehension.

In 1367, Marain and the settlements


ended a seven-year war with the
Langurians and Pitoks. As a result of this
war, Languria was driven out of East
Bacol. Marain would now rule Laman and
the other lands that once belonged to
Languria. This brought peace to the
Bacolean settlements. The settlers no
longer had to worry about attacks from
Laman. The Bacoleans were happy to be
part of Marain in 1367. Yet a dozen years
later, these same people would be
fighting the Marish for independence, or

In 1763, Britain and the colonies


ended a seven-year war with the French
and Indians. As a result of this war,
France was driven out of North America.
Britain would now rule Canada and the
other lands that once belonged to France.
This brought peace to the American
colonies. The settlers no longer had to
worry about attacks from Canada. The
Americans were happy to be part of
Britain in 1763. Yet a dozen years later,
these same people would be fighting the
British for independence, or freedom from

Guiding Principle

Provide more than definitions.

WORD

DEFINITION

Stimulus

Response

truncate

to cut off

She truncated the lig

Guiding Principle

Combine definitions and


contextual examples.

Guiding Principle

Minimize rote copying of


definitions.

Guiding Principle

Introduce new words in


related clusters.

antennae
thorax
wing

leg

abdomen
In content areas,
clustering words is natural!

Guiding Principle

Provide brief, periodic review.

To what extent does our core


facilitate these guiding
principles?

What did the National


Reading Panel conclude
about teaching
vocabulary?

NRP Findings on
Vocabulary

Teaching vocabulary improves general


comprehension ability.
Preteaching vocabulary helps both word learning
and comprehension of a selection.
Much vocabulary is acquired through incidental
exposure.
Repeated exposures in a variety of contexts are
important.

NRP Findings on
Vocabulary

A combination of definitions and contextual


examples works better than either one alone.
Many instructional methods can be effective in
teaching vocabulary.
Instructional methods should result in active
engagement.
Both direct and indirect methods should be
used.

NRP Findings on
Vocabulary

The more connections that are made to


a word, the better the word tends to be
learned.
Computer applications can be effective.
The effectiveness of some instructional
methods depends on the age or ability
of the children.

What the NRP said they didnt


know about vocabulary
instruction

Which methods work best with students of different ages


and abilities?
How can technology best be used to teach vocabulary?
How is vocabulary best integrated with comprehension
instruction?
What combinations of instructional methods tend to work
best?
What are the best ways to assess vocabulary?

To what extent do you see these


findings reflected in your core
materials?

Read-Alouds

Adding three root words a day is the


average daily number of words
learned by primary age children with
the largest vocabularies. (p. 37)

Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades.In J.F. Baumann &
E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 2840). New York: Guilford.

Adding three root words a day is the


average daily number of words
learned by primary age children with
the largest vocabularies. (p. 37)
3 words x 140 days 400 words per year

Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades.In J.F. Baumann &
E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 2840). New York: Guilford.

Planning a Read-Aloud
Choose engaging, well-illustrated books.
A number of words should be unknown to about
half the students.
Choose 3 target words that are important for
comprehension but likely to be unfamiliar.
Keep track of the words you choose.
Plan to repeat the read-aloud.
Plan for small-group sessions (2-5 students).
Plan multiple exposures in the days following.

Conducting a Read-Aloud
Be performance oriented; read with expression.
Include rich, dialogic discussion.
Activate prior knowledge.
Link the story to experiences of students.
Elicit responses from students.
Give direct, clear, and simple instruction in word
meanings before the read-aloud.
Give a sentence context from the story in
advance.
Discuss words before and after the story.
Ignore rare words. (Biemiller)
Embed quick definitions while reading. (Biemiller)
Do not display pictures while reading (Beck et al.)

Storybook Intervention
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Book 1
Intro &
1st
ReadAloud

Book 2 Book 1 Book 2


Intro &
1st
2nd
2nd
Read- Read- ReadAloud Aloud Aloud

Day 5

Day 6

Vocabulary
Activities

Coyne, M.D., Simmons, D.C., & Kameenui, E.J. (2004). Vocabulary instruction for
young children at risk of experiencing reading difficulties: Teaching word
meanings during shared storybook readings. In J.F. Baumann & E.J.
Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 4158). New York: Guilford.

Three Read-Alouds per Day


Book

Interruptions

New Book

None

Old Book 1

Some, to remind
students of words

Old Book 2

Some, to remind
students of words

Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades.In J.F. Baumann &
E.J. Kameenui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 2840). New York: Guilford.

Warning!
Spending too much time discussing
read-alouds may detract from valuable
reading practice.
Stahl (1998).

Stay Tuned! We have many


additional strategies to show
you; today, though, we are
going to focus on vocabulary
instruction tied to read alouds.