What current research says about vocabulary instruction:
1. Direct instruction in new words enhances the learning of theos words in context.
When students have instruction on words prior to encountering them in context, their ability to comprehend those words increases by a factor of one-third (Jenkins, 1984).
Where wide reading is critical to vocabulary development, research does not support the position that it is sufficient in and of itself to ensure proper vocabulary development (Marzano, 2003).
2. Students must encounter a word in meaningful context at least 6 times before they have enough experience with the word to determine meaning and remember it.
3. Direct instruction on words that are critical to new content produces the most poerful learning.
Teaching vocabulary has been show to increase students’ ability to understand new content by twelve percentile points (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986).
4. One of the best ways to learn a new word is to associate a mental image or symbolic representation with it.
Process for direct instruction of vocabulary
1. Present students with (or engage students in) a brief explanation or description of the new term or phrase, including its definition, the characteristics make it unique from other words in its category, and related words or synonyms.
2. Present the students with a nonlinquistic or symbolic representation of the new term or phrase.
3. Ask students to explain or describe the meaning of the word in THEIR OWN TERMS.
4. Ask student to create THEIR OWN NONLINGUISTIC REPRESENTATION of the term or phrase.