Increasing student vocabulary is key to reading and communicating. As our vocabulary increases, so does our ability to learn and communicate more complex and abstract ideas.
Increasing student vocabulary is important to set the foundation for life long readers and to combat illiteracy rates.
According to Hart and Risley, there is a 30 million word exposure gap of between children of higher educated parents and those on welfare.
This gap can be narrowed by teachers in all subject matters by exposing and encouraging students to new vocabulary.
10 Tips for Increasing Student Vocabulary
These are a few tips and ideas for teachers to increase student vocabulary levels in their classrooms.
1. Crossword Puzzles- Crossword puzzles are fun and encourage higher level thinking. They can also introduce new words and their meaning.
2. Word of the Day- introduce a new word each day and incorporate it several times throughout the day.
3. Word Wall- if a new word is introduced, have a student write the word and meaning on a wall or whiteboard.
4. New Word Journal- Have students keep a journal and add new entries when they encounter new words. Have students add the definitions each week to their new words.
5. ABC Book- An activity where students look up a new word and definition for each letter of the alphabet. Have students trade their books with classmates to learn new words.
6. Context- Use new words in context of where they are found and include pictures.
7. Play Games- Games such as Jeopardy, Pictionary, Balderdash, and other games that allow students to play with words and their meaning will increase their vocabulary.
8. Use Technology- these are 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary.
9. Increasing Reading Time- As students read, they are exposed to new vocabulary words. Increase of exposure= a greater chance of understanding word meaning in context.
10. Use College Talk during teacher instruction. This requires teachers to use higher level words (college talk) during instruction.
What ideas do you have for increasing student vocabulary levels?
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