How to Teach Vocabulary to Young Students
Oct 26, 2013 Young Learners 2915 Views
Oh no! My child is not reading on grade level! Is it their vocabulary? Vocabulary is essential to comprehending what is read. Is this hurting my child's comprehension? Learning how to read is essential to be successful in school and to achieve anything in life. Whether a child decides to attend a 4-year college, community college, technical college, or go into the military, reading is necessary.
So you ask, what is vocabulary, really? It is knowledge of a word that not only implies a definition, but also how the word fits into the world. As a parent, your child should be adding from 2,000 to 3,000 words each year to their reading vocabulary, according to Michael Graves, Vocabulary Book Learning and Instruction. I know you are thinking, WOW, how are they going to do that?
This would include words such as do, did, does, etc. That counts as three words. These are called word families.
There is a correlation between word knowledge and reading comprehension. If a student doesn't understand vocabulary words, understanding what is read is going to be difficult. However, it is essential to understand that vocabulary knowledge is never mastered. It just continues to deepen over a lifetime. Learning vocabulary helps you to communicate in a more powerful, persuasive and creative way.
There is also a difference between oral vocabulary and written vocabulary. A student may understand a word that is spoken orally but may not have any idea what it looks like written. The opposite may also occur, they may know what it is written, but may be mispronouncing it and not know what the word is.
It was once thought that learning words meant you were to look them up in a dictionary, and that was the end of the learning. However, more and more teachers are using vocabulary strategies such as connecting words to pictures.
Teachers begin to introduce words using images of what the word could be and what it is not. Word knowledge increases when students are able to associate the word with a visual. The brain then stores the image of the word. Then the word is learned with associations and connections.
As a parent, helping your student learn the words with multiple exposures will vastly increase their word knowledge. The student needs to see the words in different texts and just discussing the word. This gets the student engaged and seriously thinking about the meaning of the word.
Let's look at the word: DRIVE. There are several definitions, but we will discuss three main ones.
1. Drive: to drive a car.
2. Drive: a computer hardDRIVE.
3. Drive: to drive your point across in a discussion.
Ensuring a student understands each definition and when to use the word is essential in comprehension. Adequate reading comprehension is to understand 90-95% of the words you read. To achieve this goal, the more you read, the more vocabulary you acquire.
So, what can a parent do? Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Groton, CT has excellent parent tips for helping your student build their vocabulary knowledge. Some of their tips include: read daily, play verbal games, have your student to classify and group words. Vocabulary strategies for a parent to help their student are not difficult and need surely no preparation.