Vocabulary words and knowledge are critical in reading comprehension and vitally important that new and young readers develop a large ‘word bank’ and effective vocabulary learning strategies. That being said, we will have an emphasis on vocabulary words in our classroom this year.
There are several effective vocabulary learning strategies that we will be using in the classroom, I encourage you to employ these strategies at home assisting in the reading comprehension and vocabulary development of your young reader.
Effective Vocabulary Learning Strategies:
•Pre-teaching Vocabulary Word – teaching your child unfamiliar words prior to the reading experience. An adult should preview the reading material determine unfamiliar words then define and discuss the words. This provides understanding of the word for the child as well as establishing connotation. It also gives the adult feedback on how well the child understands the word.
•Repeated Exposure to Words – The more we are exposed to a word, the stronger our understanding become. A child needs to hear and use a word several times before it becomes part of their vocabulary. Provide multiple opportunities for the child to use a new word in written and spoken form.
•Keyword Method – Like pre-teaching, the keyword method rather than having a child remember the definition, it encourages the adult to give a ‘word clue’ to help them understand the word. The idea behind the keyword method is to create an easy cognitive link to the word’s meaning that the reader can access efficiently during a reading experience.
•Root Analysis – Many English words are derived from Latin or Greek roots. They contain a ‘core’ root or use prefixes or suffixes. Adults, when working with the student should focus on the commonly occurring roots, prefixes and suffixes. When a reader is able to break down unfamiliar words into their prefixes, suffixes and roots they can begin to determine their meanings.
•Restructuring Reading Material – This strategy is particularly effective for struggling readers improving their vocabulary. Sometimes grade level materials contain too many unfamiliar words. Adults can restructure the material. Portions of the difficult words can be replaced with ‘easier’ synonyms to help the reader understand the overall text. Also, particularly challenging words can easily be ‘looked up’ while reading the text.
Taking a few minutes to read with your child, using these strategies will truly aid their vocabulary development and reading comprehension for years to come. Let’s work together as a team to ensure that your child becomes an independent, lifelong learner.