In previous posts, we discussed the importance of vocabulary instruction before, during, and after reading complex texts for improving students’ reading comprehension, especially when it comes to emergent bilinguals. We also dived into the idea of making Word Connections (Boyles, 2012; Mudambi, 2013 & 2015). The five components of vocabulary instruction are: Word Connections, Significance, Context Clues, A Word Rich Environment, and Evaluation. In this post, we will discuss Significance.
Significance refers to making student-friendly definitions available for students. According to Nagy and Scott (2004), dictionary definitions often confuse students and inhibit their access to vocabulary. Instead, definitions should be provided in a way students can understand. Here are a few examples of how to provide student-friendly definitions in the classroom.
1. Use graphic organizers such as GOICs (Graphic Organizer Input Charts) and pictorial input charts.
2. Provide visuals and realia to help explain the definition of words.
3. Use gestures to help students understand the significance of words.
4. Provide a story or narrative that helps explain the meaning of a word.
5. For words with multiple meanings, have students choose amongst various definitions based on context.