99: Why I Avoid Vocabulary Lists

Why I Avoid Vocabulary Lists



How do we decide what vocabulary words to work on in speech therapy? 

This is probably the number one question I see asked in SLP Facebook groups, so I wanted to take some time to explain why I don’t rely on vocabulary lists, grade level lists, or classroom curriculum, and explain what I use instead. 

The truth is that vocabulary lists and grade level lists aren’t perfect. They don’t account for where each individual student might be in the vocabulary learning process. 

Instead, we need to focus on teaching our students how to determine the meaning of words they come across on their own, without relying on basic vocabulary memorization. 


In This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • Why I don’t rely on vocabulary lists
  • How our disadvantaged students learn significantly fewer words per year than other kids their age
  • The problem with grade-level lists
  • Why you should focus on context clues so students have the skills to figure out new words on their own


I hope this quick episode on why I don’t love vocabulary lists will help you reshape your thinking when it comes to vocabulary and helps you come up with strategies for how to help your students when you are not there. 

If you want to get started teaching students about how to use context clues, make sure to check out my free context clues scoot games resource.  There are also more resources linked under “resources mentioned” that are helpful like my tips and tricks for teaching context clues and working on tier 2 vocab!


Why I Avoid Vocabulary Lists


Joke of the Week:

Q: Why did Spider-Man borrow his mom's car? 

A: To take it out for a spin.


Resources Mentioned: 

Check out my free context clues scoot games resource

Learn my tips and tricks for teaching context clues

Check out my tips and tricks for working on tier 2 vocabulary words


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