Continuing with the recommendations and practices to improve and build good vocabulary, here are other suggestions made by Pikulsi & Templeton (2009) in their research article.
Linking spelling instruction to reading and vocabulary instruction.
Once students understand the spelling-meaning relationships among words, they can learn how the spelling or structure of familiar words can be clues to the spelling and the meaning of unknown words, and vice-versa.
Teaching the effective, efficient, realistic use of dictionaries, thesauruses, and other reference works.
Exploring dictionary entries can be one important and effective component of understanding a word deeply. The entries can also help students determine the precise meaning of a word. Dictionaries can also provide helpful information about the history of a word and reinforce the interrelationships among words.
Teaching, modelling and encouraging the application of a word-learning strategy.
The following figure explains strategy to derive word meaning effectively. Teachers should rather focus on making students understand the word than make them remember them.
1. Encourage wide reading
Through wide independent reading, students come in contact with vocabulary that rarely occurs in spoken language or in text books. Vocabulary used in oral communications such as television shows or adult conversation is extremely restricted to a certain types of words.
For example, prime time television shows have less challenging vocabulary than children’s books, and college graduates talking with friends and spouses use vocabulary that is less challenging than that in preschool books!
One very effective remedy to improve vocabulary is to make children READ.
2. Create a keen awareness of and a deep interest in language and words.
The paper recommends that every teacher should develop a “word-a-day” routine wherein there is a focus on an interesting, challenging word. These words should be introduced and discussed; students should be encouraged to look for them and use them in and out of school. In case of Government schools with which LSA works, a- word- a- day may seem too fast a pace. In such cases, a word every other day or even a word a week should be encouraged.
Thus, importance of vocabulary is not only limited to reading achievements, but has higher impact on overall social, economic and intellectual achievements. It is essential to have a focus on vocabulary building at early school years.
By Gayatri Vaidya: Educational Specialist
(Member of Large Scale Assessment)
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