Want to help your students build vocabulary that can help them in all subject areas?
Did you know there are three tiers of vocabulary?
Yes! Tier 1 is common, everyday words. Tier 2 are words that help students in all subject areas, found on standardized tests, and will help students year after year. Tier 3 words are content specific and important for classroom units and exams.
Why should we focus on tier 2 in vocabulary?
- Time. We don’t have time to cover every vocabulary word in every subject and make it stick. We only see them several times a week.
- Carryover. We want them to transfer what we work on in our therapy rooms into their classrooms.
- Independence and compensatory strategies. We want them to know how to figure out vocabulary words when we are not around. These are the words they will run into in any subject or grade.
- Mixed groups. We can’t always cater to a specific classroom’s needs. We may have students working on different units at the same time.
Why should we focus on vocabulary?
Studies have shown that poor readers benefit from explicit instruction of vocabulary, not just the words in the text.
Elleman, A.M., Steacy, L.M., Olinghouse, N.G., Compton, D.L. (2017). Examining Child and Word Characteristics in Vocabulary Learning of Struggling Readers. Scientific Studies of Reading. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10888438.2016.1265970
Vocabulary instruction is important for students of all ages, not just our younger ones. Evidence has shown association with vocabulary knowledge and academic attainment. This study showed working on tier 2 vocabulary words in a systematic way can help students build vocabulary knowledge and transfer into their classrooms.
Spencer, S., Clegg, J., Lowe, H., & Stackhouse, J. (2017). Increasing adolescents’ depth of understanding of cross-curriculum words: an intervention study. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12309.
How can we work on tier 2 vocabulary?
You can play various games to assess if they have the background knowledge of these words already. Can they use it in a sentence? Can they identify the parts of speech? Click HERE to see my whole blog post on this plus a freebie list of words!
If they are unfamiliar, you can teach them using context clues. I like to start with nonsense words! Below I just used a piece of paper and quickly jotted down a sentence and omitted the word. What is the sentence about? What part of speech do you think this word is? Can we think of various possibilities of this word?
Practice! Practice having them use their strategies of context clues, parts of speech, and understanding prefixes, suffixes and root words to assist them! My Building Vocabulary for Older Students is designed to work on context clues and parts of speech! Click HERE to check it out!
View my video below from my Facebook Live on the topic!