Sunday, February 26, 2012

Vocabulary is more than important, it's key!

Our Literacy coach held the best staff meeting last week.  Her main focus was about Vocabulary.  She had an excerpt from Hatchet.  30% of the important vocabulary was in french.  She asked us to read it and then tell what the story was about.  I couldn't.  This is how some of our kids feel when they read non-fiction.  If they don't understand the vocabulary, how are they going to get the content!! My eyes were opened.  So here is what we have in our room to help us grow our vocabulary and get us excited about understanding new words and also using new words in our writing.  It's our Big Juicy Words chart.  It includes the word on an index card along with a quick definition (generated by the kids) and how it is used in a sentence.
So here is where you as a parent comes in.  As your child reads a page, ask them if there were any words that were tricky.  Ask them if there were any words they didn't know the meaning for.  When they write, encourage them to use bigger adjectives and words they have heard in familiar stories.
It sounds simple, but we have to expand their vocabulary in order to increase their learning.  Whew! That's a good place for an AMEN! I'm so fired up about it right now! Thanks Erma!  You're the best.  I'm so thankful that Caryville has you.

Sorry for the picture. I could not, for the life of me, get it turned right side up!!

(It killed me and I had to give it another go! Fixed it!)


  1. Do you find most students are honest about not understanding vocabulary? I know often kids are embarassed to admit they don't know something.

  2. Marilyn, we have a wonderful literacy coach who has helped us tackle vocabulary head on. It's something we do daily when we read books, answer questions, and in our converstations. Through her guidance, our kids now understand how important understanding words mean. This year, our kids really open up about words they don't know. They are very eager to guess and use parts they know to help them. In years past, it's been like you have described. But this year it's like our kids just have an understanding that big, unknown words are ok and there's usually a way we can figure them out. It's actually one of the biggest shifts in my teaching but I'm still learning daily!! I think tackling it head on is really key because that kind of takes the pressure off before the situation even comes up.
    -by the way, it's Bethany not Becky =)