Today I'm joining up with Mrs. McClain from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her "You oughta know about..." blog hop. Thanks Mrs. McClain!
I'm going to share a non-fiction vocabulary strategy that I have used in the past with a lot of success. Reading fiction and non fiction requires different strategies. Fiction is usually read for enjoyment and assumes that you understand what you are reading (I mean, you wouldn't read it if you didn't understand it would you?) But non-fiction is instructional and informative in nature and uses topic specific vocabulary.
If you have read any of my previous posts about the Lesson Cycle and concept invention/term introduction... well, I'm not talking about that sort of vocabulary acquisition. You know as well as I do that sometimes kids (a lot of times for adults) we are required to get our information from print, whether it is hard copy or digital. Life doesn't always plop down an awesome hands-on experience for us to learn from. Sometimes we just have to flat out read. period.
I would get so frustrated with my students when they would read a non-fiction article, book, etc...and they couldn't tell me what a new vocabulary word meant, even though the word was highlighted, had a definition with a clue, and was included in a glossary. They would read right past it. Not good. The word is included because it is specific to the subject they are reading about and is necessary to comprehension. So I came up with the following little activity:
Basically, I copied the chart for the kiddos to put in their binder. As we read through non-fiction selections, I modeled what to do every time we came to a highlighted vocabulary word.They learned to stop when they saw the word, identify the clue (comma, the word "is"....), and locate the definition. Before too long, I would hear the students automatically turn to their WCD chart when new vocabulary words popped up. While this isn't an activity specific to vocabulary acquisition, it is a specific reading strategy that helps build good reading habits.
If you want a copy of the activity, just click on either of the images above! Enjoy!