Vocabulary Instruction: A 6 Part Series for Teachers of English Learners and Struggling Students

Looking back on my years as a classroom teacher, I now wonder if I did enough to boost students’ vocabulary, their ability to manipulate word parts, their curiosity of the words chosen by an author, and their overall love of words. I know the answer is no. This is in large part to the fact that I didn’t know half of what I do now about vocabulary instruction and development. As a younger teacher, I also did not appreciate the necessity of high quality practice that led to deep word meaning as part of a high quality literacy program. I thought I was a great Reading teacher without being a great word teacher.
However, after years of research and practice, there are a number of truths that have emerged. In the upcoming weeks, we will take a look at these “truths” about vocabulary instruction. These truths are based on educational research findings around vocabulary development and the elements of best practice literacy instruction. The hope is that this series will give you new insight, new resources, new ideas, and a plethora of instructional strategies to try out in your classrooms.
As we dive into this work of expanding students’ knowledge of and consciousness towards words, please know that it will be messy. All great learning is. But I encourage you to share both your successful and failing lessons, so that as a community, we can learn from one another. The topic of the next 6 Sunday posts are:
• 1/6 – Word Consciousness
• 2/6 – Word Play
• 3/6 – Strategies for Learning Unknown Words
• 4/6 – Prefixes and Suffixes
• 5/6 – Cognates
• 6/6 – The Language of the Common Core
If there is an additional topic that you would like to see posted, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at tajulearning@gmail.com and we’ll will be sure to include it.