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A Five Minute Lesson on Vocabulary Strategies

Using Vocabulary Strategies Increases Academic Achievement

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Educators can maximize their instructional time by providing explicit instruction on the vocabulary strategies. Direct instruction of the strategies helps students to find the meaning of unknown words. Daily five minutes vocabulary lessons can quickly expand kids’ academic vocabularies. Teachers can provide explicit instruction on approximately three new words per day. Students can determine the meaning of new words using one or more of the vocabulary strategies.

Use These Strategies To Help Determine The Meaning of New Words

Context Clues

Apposition

Word Structure

Cognates

Use a Dictionary or Reference Tool

The Vocabulary Strategies Explained

Context Clues

Use the context to figure out the meaning of the unknown word. Readers can often figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word by using the words around it. The surrounding sentence or paragraph is known as the context. People can closely read or read the surrounding text to try to determine the definition. This is handy on tests and exams where other tools are not always available.

Apposition

In some cases word’s definition is included in the sentence. Apposition is:

  1. the placing of a word or expression beside another so that the second explains and has the same grammatical construction as the firs
  2. A placing side by side or next to each other.

Examples of apposition are:

The mother had grown weary, or very tired, by the end of the day.

Weary is very tired.

Word Structure

Instructing students in word structure and analysis helps them to find the meaning of unknown words. Knowledge in prefixes, suffixes and root words goes a long way in learning new words.

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Cognates

Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation. Some languages have a large number of cognates such as English and Spanish. Researchers have found that teaching cognates increases the rate of vocabulary acquisition in second language learners.

Examples of Cognates

English Spanish

act acto

cabin cabina

herb heirba

Use a Dictionary or Reference Tool

Explicit instruction in dictionary skills helps young learners to build their knowledge of words. Students can utilize dictionaries, glossaries or online dictionaries. Several online dictionaries can be utilized with a smartphone or a computer. An online dictionary, www.yourdictionary.com is an example of a comprehensive website that includes:

  • the definition
  • a thesaurus
  • sentence examples

A glossary can often be found at the back of a book. This is an example of a glossary.

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Online Books That Help With Vocabulary Acquisition

nonfiction books

Educators and parents can utilize these helpful teacher’s guides to assist with planning engaging vocabulary lessons. These online books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at www.biguniverse.com.

thumb-2Music, Art, and Literature Words

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2011
ISBN: 9781612471518

The reproducible lessons in this series focus on practical vocabulary terms, skills, and concepts in relevant situational settings. Struggling students learn over 3,000 high-utility words in 28 self-contained thematic lessons. Additionally, each lesson activates prior knowledge and continually reinforces fundamental language arts skills and concepts. These reproducible books include teacher notes and tips, answer keys, reference guides, lessons, unit reviews, and more.

freeclipart appleConnecting To The Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards clearly outline what is expected of students at each grade level, for students in the United States. The Common Core State Standards can be found at www.corestandards.org/

The Common Core standards for grades K-5 are clearly outlined below.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.A
Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.B
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g.,photograph, photosynthesis).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.4.C
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.A
Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.B
Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.5.C
Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, homographs) to better understand each of the words.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.A
Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.B
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g.,telegraph, photograph, autograph).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.4.C
Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.A
Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.B
Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.5.C
Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.A
Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.B
Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g.,agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.C
Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., company, companion).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.4.D
Use glossaries or beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.A
Distinguish the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases in context (e.g.,take steps).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.B
Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., describe people who are friendly or helpful).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.5.C
Distinguish shades of meaning among related words that describe states of mind or degrees of certainty (e.g., knew, believed, suspected, heard, wondered).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.3.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
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