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New Lynn School
  4 May 2009
 Jane van der Zeyden
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“In order to make progress in
  both oral and written language,
  a learner needs to learn new
  works. Vocabulary needs to be
  taught explicitly…”

English Language Learning Progressions
       Ministry of Education, 2008
      Learning Intention
We are learning to provide meaningful tasks in our
 classroom programmes which will help students
 to build their vocabulary knowledge.

Success Criteria
  We will be able to identify lexical items which will
  need to be explicitly taught.
  We will be able to effectively use tasks to
  develop vocabulary.
    We will be able to describe different facets to
                  “knowing” a word.
What does knowing a word

How many aspects can you identify?
    Teachers and students need to
     understand that „learning” or
      “knowing” a word involves:
•   Knowing how the word sounds
•   Saying the word with correct pronunciation
•   Spelling it accurately
•   Recognising it in print
•   Understanding what it means in context
•   Knowing its most commonly used meaning
•   Understanding other meanings in different
    contexts e.g. bank,
• Knowing what part of speech it is
• Knowing whether the word is technical
  or general vocabulary
• Knowing whether it is being used
  literally, metaphorically or idiomatically
• Understanding whether the word should
  be used in informal or formal contexts
Learners can extend this
knowledge through:
• Learning how to form other words in the same
• Learning what other words collocate with the
• Learning that some words are “joined” to make
  a lexical item e.g a bank robbery, a retirement
• Building a bank of words with similar meanings
• Learning where a word fits on a cline
          • Finding out about the origin of the word
        Reference:English Language Learning Progressions
       Different types of
• Expressive vocabulary - the words we use
  to speak and write
• Receptive vocabulary - the words we use to
  listen and read
• Meaning and oral vocabularies -
  combination of listening and speaking
• Literate vocabulary - combination of
  reading and writing vocabularies
• Very young children have meaning
  vocabularies that are much larger than
  literate vocabularies
• Adults probably have literate
  vocabularies larger than meaning
• Some researchers e.g Ehri (1994,1998)
  suggest that high frequency words
  should be introduced without written
  context so that students focus on their
  visual composition
• Native speakers will add roughly 1000
  word families a year to their vocabulary
• Some studies suggest that ELL’s
  vocabulary grows at the same rate as
  native speakers but the initial gap is not
• Significant vocabulary growth can occur
  if learning is done in the L2 environment
  (Milton and Meara, 1995)
• Approximately 100 words make up about
  50% of most English texts
• First 1000 words make up 72% of texts
• First 2000 words make up 79.7% of texts
• First 4000 words make up 86.8% of texts
• Although there are approx. 54,000 word
  families in English, 3,000 to 5,000 word
  families provide a basis for comprehension
Processes for
remembering words:
• Learners need to notice the word or be
  aware of it
• Retrieval - if a word is retrieved either
  receptively or productively in a familiar task
  then the memory of that word will be
• Generation - may be either receptive or
  productive. Involves using the vocabulary in
  new contexts
Implications for teachers
• Identify the key words and
Think about how frequently the words are
 used, how important they are for concept
 learning, how important they are for general
 academic use.
  Introducing key words
• Plan appropriate activities and tasks to teach
  and test these key words
• Simple explanation may be all that is
• Teach other related forms and words e.g.
  digestion leads to digest, ingest, digestive,
  food, nutrient
• Limit the number of new words
• Get students to predict possible meanings
• Avoid introducing pairs of words that have
  similar meanings or are opposite in meaning.
     In the classroom:
• Word maps
• Clustering activities
• Use visuals where possible
• Teach pronunciation
• Clines
• Cloze activities
• Definition-matching activities
• Dominoes, crosswords, word- guessing
  games, word bingo
• Vocabulary quizzes
 Metacognitive strategies
      for students:
• Keeping their own vocabulary lists
• Highlighting key words
• Drawing word maps or using other
  visual activities
• Bilingual cards or other word cards with
  meanings on the back
• “words of the week” or a “word wall”

cat, kitten, tomcat, mice, birds, play, flick,
hunt, stalk, catch, whiskers, sensitive, ears,
saucers, milk, fur, lick, clean, wash, trees,
sleep, curl, tail, flick, anger, seven lives, fall,
land, lap, stroke, purr…

EAT       LIVE               BODIES         STATUS
seeds     offshore islands   feathers       at risk
nuts      sandspits          wings          endangered
fish      mountains          beak           extinct
berries   forest             legs           common
carrion   grassland          feet
insects   beach              eyes           PEOPLE
          at sea             hollow bones   ornithologists
          towns              down           zoologists
          swamps             brush-tongue   naturalists
sensory webs…                     Looks like..
Feels like…                             stripey
soft                    short fur on its body
smooth           tufts of long hair in its ears
furry                  white, grey and black
stiff whiskers                       fluffy tail
prickly claws                staring blue eyes
twitchy tail
                        Makes me think of ...
Sounds like…                     climbing trees
miaowing            licking milk from a saucer
crying                           catching birds
scratching                stalking and hunting
talking          sleeping, curled up in my lap
kinds of..   behaviour..   food/play..   bodies..
cat          play          mice          whiskers
kitten       flick         birds         ears
tomcat       hunt          saucers       fur
tabby        stalk         milk          pads
             catch         meat          claws
             lick          chew          eyes
breeds…      wash          lick          nose
Persian      sleep         swallow
Siamese      curl          bat
             fall          pounce
                            semantic web…
                                                  Parts of the whole
   Opposites / difference / similarities          e.g. claws, whiskers, tail, fur, teeth, pads,
   e.g. similar to a tiger because …                   raspy tongue…
        different to a dog because …
                                           Name of
   Category                                                      e.g. mouse, cat food, milk,
                                            object                    comfort, fleas, nine lives …
   e.g. animals / mammals
                                           e.g. cat

                                                          e.g. house, garden, native forest
e.g. living things – bones, blood, fur …
                                                               (feral) …

                                             Appearance / qualities
                                             e.g. small, furry, one-coloured or many-coloured,
     e.g. pet, friend, catches mice …
                                                  camouflaged for hunting, large eyes, good
                                                  night-sight …
cat, cats, cat-like, tomcat, catfish
cat-o’-nine tails, to play cat and mouse,
raining cats and dogs, no room to swing a
cat, something the cat brought in, big cat,
domestic cat, cat on hot bricks, fight like
Kilkenny cats, let the cat out of the bag,
fight like cat and dog, set the cat among
the pigeons…
Developing vocabulary 4:            Effective Literacy Strategies, MoE, 2004

explore words, e.g. ‘line’
 •   wire/pipe -telegraph line, oil, sewage..
 •   connection - phone line, hotline..
 •   row of text - insert a line ..
 •   queue - line up here …
 •   a mark - rule a line ..
 •   note - drop someone a line ..
 •   cord - fishing line, throw a line …
 •   division - cross the line, colourline ..
 •   alignment - in/out of line …
 •   boundary - tree line, snowline …
Developing vocabulary 5:            Effective Literacy Strategies, MoE, 2004

develop vocab piles with students
   Words to use instead of ‘SAID’
    asked           roared
    barked          said
    bawled          screamed
    cried           screeched
    enquired        shouted
    hollered        sighed
    murmured        snarled
    queried         thought
    questioned      whispered
    ranted          yelled
  Last, but by no means
• Much vocabulary acquisition occurs
  during the experience of listening to
  stories read aloud to the class.
  Teacher explanations add substantially
  to the level of acquisition. Lower ability
  children learn as many words (or more)
  than the bright and learning is long
  term. (Elley, 1987)

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