I don’t think it’s controversial to say that being able to read, understand and write words is incredibly important to every child’s education. It might even be so plainly obvious as to not merit questioning. The more words my students can read and understand, the more complex and challenging texts they can acess. The more words my students can comfortably use in their writing, the more able they’ll be to write interesting and challenging pieces, in a wider range of contexts. Knowledge is power, and language is the gateway to knowledge.
So, the question is, what’s the best way to teach vocabulary? I’ll start by describing how I’ve often seen vocabulary lessons work, and how I’ve taught vocabulary in the past, before offering an alternative, based on a recent lesson.
A typical vocabulary lesson
You start with a group of words. These words are boring. Words like ‘big’, ‘nice’, ‘said’…
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