Teaching Vocabulary in the Content Areas
Two kinds of vocabulary Acquistion:
- Direct (taught vocabulary for a specific purpose)
- Indirect (acquired by hearing it at home or school or reading on own)
Keep in Mind:
- EL’s might repeat words or say words, but not really understand the meaning
- Multiple meaning words are difficult and need clarified
- Much more exposure to new vocabulary words than their English-fluent counterparts.
- To learn cognates, prefixes, suffixes, and root words to help make sense of new vocabulary.
- To be given many opportunities to use and practice new vocabulary.
- To hear the pronunciation of the words and to repeat them and practice pronouncing them
Example: One teacher did the following in order to build background and language related to tornadoes…
- They began the unit by passing out copies of an excerpt from The Wizard of OZ.
- Before reading the excerpt aloud, students used highlighters to mark any words they didn’t understand.
- After reading it aloud they identified words they felt they needed to know.
- Then they created a word chart and discussed the meanings of words using context clues and dictionaries.
- They looked at bolded words in the text and connected them to the reading excerpt.
- Then they watched a video clip of a tornado in progress.
- Then they wrote a description of what they had learned from their reading and read it aloud to a partner who had to write down any new vocabulary words they heard.
*The introduction of the excerpt allowed the students to be exposed to a language-rich text of a story many of them were familiar with. Then they were given many chances to use the vocabulary in many different language domains. (reading, writing, speaking, and listening)
(*taken from Teaching English Language Learners Across the Content Areas by Judie Haynes and Debbie Zacarian)