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Fun with Words…While Kids
Learn Vocabulary
IRA Presenters:
Candice McQueen, Ph.D. & Marcia Stewart, Ed.D.
College of Education, Lipscomb University
December 10, 2008
How do EXPERT word learners
learn new words?
Expert Word Learners
• Notice new words when listening and
• Are interested in learning new words
• Are especially likely to learn words that are
encountered in situations marked by
strong emotion
• Use the situational or textual context to
predict possible meanings of the new
Expert Word Learners
• Relish nuances in language – connect
meaning with personal experiences
• Are self-reliant and strategic learners –
use their knowledge of elements of word
meaning (prefixes, suffixes, root words) to
predict, confirm, and anchor new words
• Engage in self-teaching
teach new words?
Traditional Word List Approach
• Overreliance on the extrinsic motivation of the
weekly tests rather than building intrinsic
motivation and interest in words and word
• Overemphasis on dictionary work
• Words are presented in isolation
• Sentence usage is typically vague or inaccurate
• Memorize definitions rather make personal,
meaningful connections
How can we TEACH words that will
help kids become EXPERT word
learners while having FUN?
Selecting Words for Instruction
• Select a handful of words to pre-teach
• Select words to pre-teach carefully
– Choose words that represent major concepts
or key ideas in the story
– Choose words that not used in everyday language
– Don’t choose words where illustrations or context
clues “teach” word meaning
• Pre-teaching should be direct and brief
• Pre-taught words should be on individual word
cards or presented only one at a time
Pre-teaching Select Words
• Show words one at a time, then display
• Discuss words in simple language, use
words in context, give examples
• Allow students to write own meaning &
draw representations of words (before,
during or after reading)
Teaching New Vocabulary Words
from Robert Marzano
Now What…
• Have students use words in sentences,
play with words, participate in word games
• Activities (non-competitive)
– Word Sorts
– Word Association writing and skits
• Games (competitive)
– Vocabulary Bingo
– Vocabulary Basketball
– Vocabulary Jeopardy
Let’s practice having FUN with