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Intentional Vocabulary Instruction

Brief introduction to tiered vocabulary.

Kathleen Fitzsimmons

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of Intentional Vocabulary Instruction

Intentional Vocabulary Instruction

Why is vocabulary important?
What are your favorite, effective methods to teach vocabulary?
We will share some "old" ideas and receive some new graphic organizers for vocabulary instruction.
Students’ word knowledge is linked strongly to academic success because students who have large vocabularies can understand new ideas and concepts more quickly than students with limited vocabularies (Chall & Jacobs, 2003).
The number of words that students need to learn is exceedingly large; on average students should add 2,000 to 3,000 new words a year to their reading vocabularies (Beck, McKeown & Kucan, 2002).
Beginning in 4th grade vocabulary begins to be the best predictor of comprehension, and overall academic success.

The average child from a family out of poverty hears about 3 million words per year vs. 11 million words per year from a child of an average
to above average socioeconomic status.

Three Tiers of Vocabulary
How do we learn vocabulary?
Direct Vocabulary Learning
Indirect Vocabulary Learning
Students learn vocabulary when teachers provide explicit instruction in specific words and word-learning strategies.
Students learn most words through incidental and multiple encounters.
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
A word’s frequency of use, complexity, and meaning determines into which tier it will fall. Those with mature vocabularies and age-appropriate literacy skills understand and use words from all three tiers.
Tier one consists of the most basic words. These words rarely require direct instruction and typically do not have multiple meanings. Sight words, nouns, verbs, adjectives, and early reading words occur at this level.
book, girl, sad, run, dog, and orange
Tier two words occur more frequently in written text. These words appear in various text such as informational, technical, and literary.
Academic vocabulary words that are cross-curricular:
analyze, demonstrate, express, distinguish, extrapolate
Words that are of high frequency for mature language users and are found across a variety of domains. These words can have multiple meanings, or specific nuance:
sweltering, potent, benevolent, brisk, frigid, industrious.
Helpful criteria to identify Tier 2 words:
1.) Is this word a more precise or mature way to say something?
2.) Can the word be kept in circulation easily in the classroom?
3.) Is the word one that would be useful in students’ writing and speaking?

Tier three consists of low-frequency words that occur in specific domains. Domains include subjects in school, hobbies, occupations, geographic regions, technology, weather, etc.
isotope, fuselage, Revolutionary War, numerator
Vocabulary Word Sort
How can we incorporate tiered vocabulary into our classroom using graphic organizers and other effective techniques to assist in our vocabulary instruction?
We can gain an understanding of Tiered Vocabulary,
and sort vocabulary words into the three tiers.
words have power!
Digital Tools to Help Identify Tier 2 Words

The focus of vocabulary instruction in this lesson centers around one important word, dedicated. I decided to pop the of text of The Gettysburg Address into Wordle to see if the tool would identify this important Tier 2 word and the results were consistent with my thoughts. The word dedicated jumped off the page along with some other significant words.

The "Find" Tool
Taking this one step further, I returned to the original text and used the Find Tool (control + f) to find occurrences of the word, "dedicated."
This was helpful for jump starting the process of examining the important word and how it is used in context. You can also have the students highlight the text to the same end.

Your turn

We invite you to use what you have learned and already know, to make some decisions about which words you will teach.

Select a text that your students will be reading
. It can be a story, or an excerpt from a chapter book or novel, or a social studies textbook.
List all the words that are likely to be unfamiliar to students.
Analyze the word list:
Which words can be categorized as
Tier Two words
Which of the Tier Two words are
most necessary for comprehension?
Are there
other words
needed for comprehension? Which ones?
On the basis of your analysis,
which words will you teach
Which will need only brief attention?
Which will you give more elaborate attention to?
How might you teach them? (graphic organizer handouts)
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