Vocabulary is simply the ability to know the meaning of words and use those words in context. Students learn vocabulary in a number of different arenas. For example, if students are:
Because of the widespread importance of learning vocabulary, it is a good idea for every teacher to know how to effective strategies for teaching vocabulary to students.
Literacy Matters suggests that teachers follow several key steps to help students grasp vocabulary words:
Activities designed to teach students new vocabulary should draw on one or more of these concepts in order to ensure maximum value.
There are several games and other fun activities you can do with students to help them to learn new vocabulary.
You can encourage students to participate in Dictionary Races.
Students can then be encouraged to come up with creative sentences for the words they looked up in the dictionary races. You can:
These activities will help students learn to use the dictionary, and will provide two exposures to the words within a brief context of time. You can then:
Play this series of games repeatedly with different word lists, mixing in some of the old words each time with some of the new words. With repeated exposure to the existing words and a fun and engaging atmosphere in which to learn new words, students will be able to commit the words to memory more quickly and will have fun in the process.
Students can keep these lists of words, sentences and prefixes/suffixes in a special vocabulary notebook which they review periodically. This will allow them to build upon their knowledge of vocabulary and to slowly learn new words throughout the course of the year.
By referring back to existing word lists and definitions in addition to looking up new words, students will experience repeated exposure to the words that they have looked up, ensuring that they commit those words to memory.
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