Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy

Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy



The Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy (VSS) emphasizes "students' personal experience and world knowledge" (Haggard, 1986, p. 635)VSS may be used with all types of reading: content area, literary works, etc. 


Important Note: The teacher participates in VSS just as the students do. 

  1. Students and teacher will share a word with the class. This should be a word that the student thinks everyone in class should learn. 
  2. The word does not necessarily have to be from text reading. The word can come from an experience the student had. For example, a student may hear a certain word on television or in conversation with his/her parents. 
  3. Students are to use the context in which he/she experienced the word to determine the meaning of the word. They are not required to look up the word. (and the feel I get from reading Haggard's article is that it is best for students to use context for the word meaning and to refrain from using a dictionary at this point)
  4. Students and teacher meet and list the words they will share. Each person tells his/her word and how they encountered the word. 
  5. Next, the student shares the definition he/she came up with through context. Then he/she gives a rationale for why they believe the class should learn this word. 
  6. The leader (teacher) acts as facilitator and may clarify and develop word meanings during the share session. 
  7. Other students may add to the definition and the group must agree upon a definition. This definition may be compared to the word's dictionary definition. 
  8.  The group gets the opportunity to agree upon a final list by tossing out words that most already know, are not interested in, duplicates, etc. and the students record the final list in a vocabulary journal. This would also fit well with the vocabulary cards activity described on the previous page. Individual students may record the eliminated words if they choose. 
  9. Assessment on the final list agreed upon by the group should follow (ideally a few days later).