Literacy 7-12

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Literacy 7-12 > Strategies > Direct Instruction: Vocabulary

Direct Instruction: Vocabulary


Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition. In discussions, reading, and writing, teachers can provide explicit Vocabulary instruction and give students multiple opportunities to see, understand, and apply new words, as well as chances to use strategies for identifying unfamiliar words.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch in this Colorin Colorado video how this high school teacher not only exposes her English learners to academic Vocabulary but also provides them with multiple opportunities to apply the word in context. Through repeated exposure and practice, students are able to retain these words into their Long-term Memory.

  • Teachers should explicitly teach the meaning of new words, especially academic Vocabulary, and then provide repeated opportunities to hear and practice using these words in writing and speaking. This is also extremely important in content area classrooms where students need the practice to improve their Disciplinary Literacy. Teachers should also introduce strategies for identifying word components (e.g., prefixes, roots, suffixes) and using reference materials like glossaries or dictionaries, which can promote independent Vocabulary acquisition skills. Direct instruction in using context clues is also critical for helping students learn new words and strengthen their Inferencing skills.
  • 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.

    Learn how Speak Agent's Vocab Lab supports direct academic language instruction with multimodal activities. Students learn new words by building on known words and using context clues.

  • Developers can expose learners to new Vocabulary through direct instruction by teaching them the meanings of words, showing the words in multiple contexts, and lastly providing repeated practice and opportunities to use those words in different contexts.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy