During the summer I love to catch up on my professional development reading! I always have the best of intentions to do it during the school year, but this book has been sitting around waiting for me since before spring break!
My language arts program has a small section dedicated to vocabulary instruction, but I know that I could be doing a much better job with it. I teach at a school that is 100% Hispanic and the vast majority of our students are English Language Learners. If we are not explicitly teaching them new, rich vocabulary, where are they going to hear it from? How are they going to recognize it when they run across it in literature, or on their standardized tests?
I know that I am not alone in teaching ELL's and there were a couple of thoughts that really stood out to me in Chapter 1:
1. We hear our students sounding out the words, and assume that because they can pronounce it, they know what it means, when in fact they are just good at decoding.
2. We expect our students to speak English, but we don't give them the tools they need to have complex conversations.
3. When we teach our ELL's we often use the simplest forms of speech to ensure our students are understanding the instructions, but by doing this, we limit their vocabulary development, and ability to use complex words on their own.
Chapter 2 discussed the beginnings of a plan for vocabulary instruction. At our school, grades first to eighth have vocabulary books that they draw words from. We do not have this same program in kindergarten, so I wondered where I could get a list of words from, and what the best way to introduce them to the students was. In this chapter, the author talks about, and gives an example of a vocabulary planner.
Using this planner, you can choose books that you already own, and that you know have rich vocabulary for your students to learn. For my phonological awareness instruction, I use Jen Jones' program, and have collected the books that follow this program, so I decided to use those books when creating a vocabulary instruction plan. Here is a link to a freebie in her TPT shop. I highly recommend this program, and I have seen tangible results from my use of this in the classroom!
One of the books in February is Doctor Desoto by William Steig. I decided to reread this book and try to create a vocabulary plan around it. I read through it, and found it to be very rich in language that I know my students do not know. Here is a sample of the plan I created for this book.
Click on the picture to download. I am now in the process of going through all of my phonological awareness curriculum books, and extracting rich vocabulary to teach my students. As I continue to read this book, I will share with you the tips and strategies that I learn for ingraining these vocabulary words into my students everyday speech!