WordWright Vocabulary
Practical and Effective Vocabulary Instruction
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Vocabulary Instruction That Works: A Practical, Effective, and Fun Approach to Vocabulary Instruction
Designed and Written by
Kerri D. Glover-Irvin, MAT, CALT
Academic Language Therapist and Teacher


     WordWright Vocabulary Lessons improve vocabulary and train students to learn vocabulary on their own!  The program has been used to train upper elementary, middle school, and high school students, as well as adults in a variety of settings. 
Four sample lessons are available here.
Coming Soon --  Student Vocabulary Activities and Projects
A Model For Effective Vocabulary Instruction

            This vocabulary instruction model uses common roots, stems, and affixes, found in English words to train students to look for patterns in English words that contribute to word meaning.  The words included are relevant for students and provide models of English word-meaning patterns.  They are used to deliberately teach word patterns that students can use to facilitate personal vocabulary development. Each student needs a unique vocabulary to support his or her personal career choices and academic goals. The ability to analyze words and adopt vocabulary efficiently and effectively by recognizing word-meaning patterns promotes individual vocabulary development.  This type of vocabulary instruction presents important advantages over vocabulary curricula that focus on exposing students to a large quantity of words but do not equip students to learn vocabulary on their own!

     This instruction model also incorporates sound teaching techniques used to insure success for diverse learning communities.  The lessons are sequential; provide consistent resurfacing, review, and practice of new learning; engage multiple learning modalities in the learning process; and stress discovery techniques that train students to learn independently.

Step 1 – Teach students to discover word-meaning patterns

Teach students new word parts using auditory and visual discovery techniques.

1.     Dictate familiar words that contain a common word part. Have students listen for this word part.

2.     Have students look at these words and identify the common part.

3.     Discuss the words’ meanings and lead students to discover the common element (the word-part meaning) in their definitions.

Step 2 – Challenge students to apply word-meaning patterns to new words

    Encourage students to use the word meaning patterns they discover to learn new words. Provide examples of new words that use the word parts learned and challenge students to predict the meanings of the new words as independently as possible. Ask students to look for and share new words containing the word parts they have learned on their own.  Discuss the role a word part’s meaning plays in understanding new words.

 Step 3 – Have students keep a record of patterns learned

  Have students keep a record of the word parts and words they learn. Have them create a page for each word part learned and record words built on the word part on the page.  Students can file the pages in a binder in alphabetical order, and in this way, build a reference book for ongoing vocabulary study.

Step 4 – Encourage students to practice, review and extend their learning

    Students must practice and review the new vocabulary they learn consistently and regularly. This practice can take a variety of forms and should engage multiple learning modalities. Flash cards may be used to review word parts and words learned. Written exercises and writing assignments may be assigned to encourage students to use vocabulary in meaningful contexts. A variety of vocabulary games and creative activities can provide engaging and effective ways to help students master the use of new words.

     Students should also be taught to use discovery techniques to discover word-meaning patterns on their own. One way to encourage this is to provide a place for students to post and share word parts and words they learn. Students may also prepare word webs, word family posters, tables, and illustrations for new word parts and words. Most of all, students need to be taught in an environment where rich and interesting vocabulary is valued, celebrated, and employed as an important aspect of quality reading, writing, speech, and conversation.