What does research say about vocabulary learning and instruction?

Most teachers and coaches know that our readers and writers need support in developing their vocabulary, and most of us are wondering what’s the best way to provide that support and does that mean that teachers have to add something else into their instructional day?  If we take a look at the research in the area of vocabulary, it will offer some suggestions and possibly confirm the practices we are already using regularly. Too good to be true?  Not really!

As you might have expected, research does indicate the need for students to be actively involved in vocabulary learning.  It also suggests that one of the important outcomes of vocabulary learning is a positive attitude toward learning new words.  Think about the ways your learners are actively involved in learning vocabulary.  Make a list.  What have you noticed about their attitude toward learning new words and how words work?

Now consider the following.  Research supports three types of vocabulary learning:

  • Immersion in rich oral language and wide reading
  • Word or lexical-specific vocabulary instruction
  • Generative vocabulary instruction More »

Values and Beliefs

Have you ever thought, “It sure would be nice to have everybody in our building on the same page”? I often hear principals who desperately want all of their staff members to “get on board” so they can move forward. Those same pleas are echoed by literacy coaches, who hope to create school environments where teachers are all “speaking the same language.” Well, these thoughts are more than just nice ideas. They stem from the desire to create a shared vision for everyone involved in educating our children. More »