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.
- Students and teacher will share a word with the class. This should be a word that the student thinks everyone in class should learn.
- 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.
- 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)
- Students and teacher meet and list the words they will share. Each person tells his/her word and how they encountered the word.
- 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.
- The leader (teacher) acts as facilitator and may clarify and develop word meanings during the share session.
- 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.
- 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.
- Assessment on the final list agreed upon by the group should follow (ideally a few days later).