Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tompkins chapter 7

Expanding student's knowledge of words and being able to increase their vocabulary is an important part of literacy for both reading and writing. The first main point that I noticed from the reading, was understanding how students learn vocabulary words. "It seems obvious that to learn words at such a prolific rate, students learn words both in and outside of school, and they learn most words incidentally, not through explicit instruction. Reading has the greatest impact on students vocabulary development" (pg. 225). Students learn vocabulary at an alarming rate, but their learning does not only increase from instruction, but also by incidental learning and experiences with real life activities. Engaging in conversation, and having real life experiences where they are surrounded by language allows students to increase their knowledge of words.

Vocabulary and word knowledge are very important for several reasons. First, "students with larger vocabularies are more capable readers, and they know more strategies for figuring out the meanings of unfamiliar words than less capable readers" (pg. 227). The main goal of vocabulary and word recognition is being able to derive meaning and using context clues around unfamiliar words, to come up with an overall meaning of what is going on in the text. There are several procedures that teachers can incorporate into their classrooms to promote vocabulary development. One of the most common ways to display vocabulary in the classroom, is word walls. A word wall allows students to be able to see commonly used words on classroom walls so they can reference these when needed. This is a great way to display various types of words including synonyms, antonyms, homonyms etymologies, and figurative meanings of words. Aside from word walls, word posters, word maps, word sorts, and word chains are all great ways to expose students to new vocabulary, in a creative and interesting way that allows them to familiarize themselves in the classroom.

When working on vocabulary, it is also important to take ELL students into account, because they are not always going to be at the same level as other students who have English as their first language. Recognizing Tier 1, 2, and 3 words is important to using vocabulary that can help with reading and writing development. Tier 1 words are words that are familiar to English learners because they appear to be the same in their native language. Tier 2 and 3 words are more complicated vocabulary that is essential to know for specific topics such as science or math. "Using context clues, analyzing word parts, and checking a dictionary," are all strategies to use when students encounter a word they are unfamiliar with (pg. 244). It is important to teach students these strategies because they can use these to help them when taking tests, completing assignments, or going through an assessment.

1 comment:

  1. aaahhh...good ol' tier one and tier two words. Thank Patti! lol...Do your kindergartners spend a lot of time with vocabulary? I'm curious what kind of strategies your CT uses to enhance your students vocabulary aquisition. How about sight words/flash cards? When I was in a kindergarten classroom last year, I was really surpised to see them working with sight words already. That was in an Okemos school, so I'm just curious if Holt appears to be at the same level. I love the different strategies Tompkins includes in her chapter that teachers can use to surround their students with words of all kinds. Immersing children in an environment full of learning opportunities, creative and otherwise, is a wonderful way to teach implicitly.