Literacy 4-6

Accessible Vocabulary

Overview

Teachers support language development by using and providing Vocabulary that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using [word wall][1] words). When teachers incorporate challenging but accessible Vocabulary words in their daily instruction, they create an environment for students to practice, apply, and grow their Vocabulary knowledge. Using words they are comfortable with also helps free up their Working Memory demands for other tasks.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this teacher makes academic vocabulary accessible to the students. By introducing one or two new words a week and having the students engage with the words in a variety of ways, they increase their understanding. Students guess the words' meanings, associate them with pictures, use them in sentences, and use gestures to incorporate movement.

  • Teachers can display Vocabulary words somewhere in the classroom and actively refer to them when they are used in context by both the teacher and students. This reference point in the learning environment supports students' Short-term Memory and facilitates the transition of these words into students' Long-term Memory. Teachers can also encourage students to use these words intentionally in their writing and conversations to help them practice using the words.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    See how Newsela provides texts at adaptive reading levels, which allows learners to read content that is interesting to them with Vocabulary that is accessible to them. Additionally, through their Power Words feature, high-frequency and high-utility words are highlighted within the articles and added to their individual word walls, allowing learners to remember or reference their definitions in context.

  • Products can provide adaptive language that adjusts to the appropriate Vocabulary complexity that can be read and understood by learners. They can also introduce features for learners to practice target words and grow their Vocabulary understanding.