As your child’s primary teacher I would like to briefly explain to you the importance of building up their vocabulary. Vocabulary simply refers to the various words we must understand in order to communicate our thoughts and ideas both orally and written. It also refers to the words needed to better understand what a person is saying to us. Constantly expanding a students vocabulary is a crucial part of their literary development and is essential in their development both academically and socially. Learning new words and their meanings will not only help improve a students reading comprehension, but also improve their speech and listening skills, as well as, their writing skills. It also helps build a students confidence in the various social situations presented throughout their time in school. Throughout a students time in school they will rely heavily on their ability to read and comprehend text.
The better a students vocabulary the easier this will be for them. By assessing students knowledge of vocabulary I will be able to identify those students who show signs of reading and writing deficiencies or learning disabilities. Proper assessment strategies will also help me gauge how successful or unsuccessful my teaching methods are. This allows me to appropriately construct and adjust lessons to find which ones work best. I will assess students knowledge of vocabulary first by examining their standardized test scores. Of course, this by itself will not give me a complete picture of a students knowledge of words, but it will give me a generally starting point as to where a student is in their vocabulary development.
I will then use a variety of techniques to assess their grasp of new words throughout the year by multiple choice or matching exercises, as well as, oral discussions. This will be done both before and after the teaching of lessons. Going over important vocabulary words orally with students before a lesson will give me an idea of their prior knowledge of the subject and will also help students learn the meanings of the words they will be seeing during the lesson. Assessing the students with matching or multiple choice tests after the lesson will give me evidence of how well they grasped the new vocabulary presented. By having the students match words with their definitions or synonyms I will be able to see if their vocabulary development is increasing or not.
Vocabulary can be taught in a variety of different ways. I believe it is important for parents or guardians to be aware of how a teacher is incorporating vocabulary into lessons so that they can also use these strategies outside of school. One effective way to teach vocabulary is by teaching the students that definitions of words they do not know can often be found within the context of the text that are reading or hearing. By teaching the importance of looking for word meanings in the surrounding text the student will be able to learn new words independently. Another effective way to teach new vocabulary words is to teach students how to use a dictionary and thesaurus. Again this increases a students ability to learn new words on their own. Dictionaries will provide students with a clear definition and the proper way to use new words. Thesauruses, will help students find synonyms and antonyms of words which will broaden their vocabulary.
Learning to use a dictionary goes hand in hand with another effective way to teach students vocabulary by teaching them how to recognize and understand prefixes. Learning the meanings of prefixes provides students with important clues to the meaning of a word because they have simple definitions and always occur at the beginning of a word. I will also use a more direct approach when teaching tougher vocabulary words. Direct approach meaning I will basically go over certain words and their meanings with the class and to individual students in order to make sure everyone understands the new words they are about to be exposed to.
I will write the words on the board and then explain the meanings and proper usage so there is little confusion. This is effective in providing students with the definitions of words they will see in a lesson before it is begun, which allows for better comprehension during the lesson. One last effective method of teaching vocabulary is the use of repetition. By exposing students to new words constantly and consistently over a period of time the more familiar they will be with those words and how they are used.
As parents and guardians you will be a prime factor in your child’s vocabulary development. It is important for you to be active in explaining and exposing your child to new words. Encourage them to ask questions about words they do not understand. Most vocabulary is learned indirectly through listening to adult conversations. Adults can also support and increase a child’s vocabulary by reading to them aloud and taking time to explain unfamiliar words to them.
The more children are exposed to spoken language the more words they will learn. Finally, parents and guardians need to actively encourage children to read on their own about topics that interest them. This is a great way to expand a child’s vocabulary and also get them interested in the power and knowledge contained in books. Teachers and parents must work together in order to provide children the tools to expand their vocabulary both in and out of the classroom. By working together we can better prepare children for the rigors of school and life.