Most teachers report that they teach 10 vocabulary words per week, which means they are specifically instructing on approximately 400 words a year. With a goal of teaching 3,000 words a year, that leaves a 2,600 word gap. Teaching the meaning of selected vocabulary words is never going to be enough to equip students with the robust vocabulary necessary to tackle more complex text. According to Michael Graves (2006), comprehensive vocabulary instruction includes four components:
1. Teaching specific vocabulary words,
2. Supporting wide reading to learn words from independent reading,
3. Developing word consciousness, and
4. Learning words independently from context.
Teaching students a process for figuring out the meaning of unknown words can leverage student’s comprehension even more than teaching specific words.
Download an infographic demonstrating why educators need to focus on #4, which is called word learning strategies.