Words, Words, Words – The Important role of Vocabulary

My latest passion is vocabulary. It really is the key to improving the quality of our students’ writing and their ability to highlight all they know. Academic English is all about knowing the correct metalanguage, using the technical terms rather than the everyday word. The right vocabulary allows you to show your expertise and increase the power of what you say. This is why it is a key aspect of the NSW K-10 Literacy Continuum but, unfortunately, it is one that many are leaving until later. Teachers are saying that they will get to it after they get a handle on Writing and Comprehension aspects. However, a major key to building their writing and comprehension skills is their vocabulary knowledge!

There are so many great sites and tools around to help students (and teachers) build their love of words and hence build their vocabulary. My recent presentation at the Coffs Harbour Teach Meet highlighted some of them (see below).

Just remember, spelling lists are NOT vocabulary! Kids will learn them for the test then dump them. To become part of their working vocabulary the words need to be taught, and more importantly, used in CONTEXT.  

Research suggests that a word has to be used at least 20 times before it becomes part of our vocabulary – how can you ensure that the key terms are used 20 times???

It has to be meaningful and valued if it is to become part of their vocabulary knowledge so make vocabulary part of all your marking rubrics too!

Please feel free to share how you are building your students’ vocabulary.

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/pmadi/words-words-words-24158942&#8243; title=”Words, words, words” target=”_blank”>Words, words, words</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/pmadi&#8221; target=”_blank”>Paula Madigan</a></strong> </div>