Vocabulary Strategies


I chose Wordsplash from the video on prereading strategies shown to our group during the fourth session of our class on Sept. 2, 2009. This would be a very effective way to introduce new vocabulary to students while preparing to read a book.

For example, to use Wordsplash to help introduce The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, I could begin with 10 words, all from the first chapter of the book: hollering, suffocate, clammy, shoplifting, unfathomable, smarting, smarting off, reputation, sagely, trouble. I would write each word separately on construction paper with a magnetic strip on the back so I could post them on the board.

Then I would ask several students to go up to the board, one at a time, to arrange or group the words in any way possible, but starting with one main word and grouping the others with it. I will ask the students to explain their reasoning as they group the words, and I will emphasize that there are no wrong answers.

Not all words will fit neatly into a category, which will help students keep their minds open to possibilities. We then would discuss the meanings, and go to the sentences containing those words in Chapter 1. This would help smooth the way for students as they begin reading the book and allow them to experience a deeper understanding of the work.

A teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Md., offers an instructional video on how Wordsplash can work in the classroom:

Wordsplash video (RealPlayer required)