Chapter 6

Teach Vocabulary with “real things”

  • Bring real items into the classroom and anchor words to them. i.e. balls (tennis, basketball, baseball, football, golf, volly ball, beach ball.)
  • Send student looking for real things in their home environments. Ask questions that send students looking or and identifying similar objects in their home to ones shown in class or talked about.
  • I would use these Ideas for practical application to my classroom! 🙂

Reading Rockets Finds

Semantic Gradients

  • Semantic gradients are a way to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of related words. Students consider a continuum of words by order of degree. Semantic gradients often begin with antonyms, or opposites, at each end of the continuum. This strategy helps students distinguish between shades of meaning. By enhancing their vocabulary, students can be more precise and imaginative in their writing.

Concept Sort

  • A concept sort is a vocabulary and comprehension strategy used to familiarize students with the vocabulary of a new topic or book. Teachers provide students with a list of terms or concepts from reading material. Students place words into different categories based on each word’s meaning. Categories can be defined by the teacher or by the students. When used before reading, concept sorts provide an opportunity for a teacher to see what his or her students already know about the given content. When used after reading, teachers can assess their students’ understanding of the concepts presented.


  • List-group-label is a form of semantic mapping. The strategy encourages students to improve their vocabulary and categorization skills and learn to organize concepts. Categorizing listed words, through grouping and labeling, helps students organize new concepts in relation to previously learned concepts.

Academic language

  • Academic language is the language of school and it is used in textbooks, essays, assignments, class presentations, and assessments. Academic language is used at all grade levels, although its frequency increases as students get older.

Building Your Child’s Vocabulary

Choosing what words to teach:

What is the ‘word gap’

  • A study conducted more than 30 years ago first came up with findings that showed there was a “word gap” between children from low-income homes and children from economically advantaged ones.

Vocabulary Development

  • Word analysis to expand vocabulary. When students engage in “word analysis” or “word study,” they break words down into their smallest units of meaning — morphemes. Discover effective strategies for classroom word study, including the use of online tools, captioning, and embedded supports to differentiate instruction.
  • Vocabulary Development during Read Alouds. Reading aloud is a common practice in primary classrooms and is viewed as an important vehicle for vocabulary development. Read-alouds are complex instructional interactions in which teachers choose texts, identify words for instruction, and select the appropriate strategies to facilitate word learning. This study explored the complexities by examining the read-aloud practices of four primary teachers through observations and interviews.