Methods For Teaching Vocabulary So That It Sticks!

Methods For Teaching Vocabulary So That It Sticks!

Children typically start Kindergarten knowing around 5000 words. During the next three grades they learn at least one thousand more new vocabulary words per year and by Grade 4, they are learning on average from one thousand to three thousand new vocabulary words per year! According to research, only some words are learned through direct vocabulary instruction in the classrooms or home study programs and all the rest is learned through reading itself! Now you understand why reading a lot is so important in the development of vocabulary. Here is the research – if you want to dig in to it a little deeper. 

Reading a lot is the very best way for kids to learn vocabulary, but today I am going to focus on the other part of learning vocabulary. The methods and teaching of it. Although many strategies are effective for students with varying abilities, the following methods always work best for my kids to help make those vocabulary words really “stick”:

How to Introduce Vocabulary Words during Reading

1. Use “child-friendly” language with your child when explaining the words by using everyday language that the child can understand and connect with.

2. Personalize the word to your child that includes references to “you,” “something,” and “someone” to help your child make a personal connection with their own lives.

3. Have your child create their own examples of the word.

After your child understands the meaning of the vocabulary word it is time to write down that word and practice it. This is where you pull out those index cards and markers. Have the kiddos write the word on one side and write the definition on the back side. I review the flashcards with my kids constantly ( I’m talking all year) and it is really encouraging and motivating for the kids to see their vocabulary bundle grow bigger and bigger. I try not to over drill so whenever I can I use some fun review activities. Here are some that my kids really enjoy:

How to Practice Vocabulary Words

in a fun way!

Click on the toggles below:

Draw the Word

Have your kids draw an image of each vocabulary word. Make the images funny and memorable so they really stick in the child’s mind. You can also use this drawing on their flashcards.

Play Charades

Make a game out of learning the vocabulary words –  like playing charades.  Take turns where your child has to act out the word and you have to guess it, and then the other way around.  

Write a Story

You can have your child incorporate the vocabulary words into a fun and creative story.  This will really help them spell and practice using the words in sentences.

 

Vocabulary Word of the Day

This is the very best way to practice vocabulary and use the entire family in the process.  Post one of the flashcards up on the front door.  Every time your child walks in and out of the door they have to give you the word in a sentence.  Make the whole family participate in it – so much fun! You can also make it Vocabulary of the Week – if the child (or anyone else in the family) needs extra practice time.


A Word About Audiobooks…

Listen to audiobooks regularly!  Audio books will help expand your child’s listening vocabulary. Later on, when your child runs into the same word in print, they will be better able to decipher the word and its meaning by having already had the exposure to it beforehand. I always have my kids listen to a novel first, before reading it. It gives them the pronunciation of those difficult to pronounce locations, names and other Proper Nouns that they struggle with when reading. My local library offers free audiobooks with a library card, see if your local library offers the same service. If not you can purchase audiobooks from Amazon or  iBookstore. If your child has been diagnosed with a learning disability you can also look into Learning Ally which is a non profit volunteer organization.

I hope these vocabulary methods and strategies work as well with your kids as they do with mine. If you have any other methods or tips that work for you, please include them in the comments section of this post. If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also enjoy reading Spelling With Letter Tiles.

Thank you so much for visiting my Blog today!


Karina Richland, M.A., is the Executive Director of PRIDE Learning Centers, LLC, an educational company that works with children in special education and focuses on reading, writing and comprehension help. She is also the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers.

Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridelearningcenter or visit the website at www.pridelearningcenter.com

Learning to read with Dyslexia

Learning to read with Dyslexia

Learning to read in English would be so easy for kids with Dyslexia if all similar-sounds were spelled the same. They aren’t. English is so hard to learn and has so many unfair and horrible spelling rules! Ugggh!

Many of us just read naturally. We understand that letters and letter combinations create words and sounds. Our brains just naturally register the words in print and we can read three or four words ahead of time and visually scan an entire text. We are also mentally able to pull words apart, separate them into syllables and apply all of those horribly unfair spelling rules easily and logically.


In the beginning…

Reading is complicated. There are 3 major stages that a child will need to go through in their lifetime to become a strong reader. This process involves word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and most importantly… motivation.  The following outlines the key features of the reading process at each stage:

Stage 1 of the Reading Process: Decoding (Ages 6-7)

At this stage, beginning readers learn to decode by sounding out words. They comprehend that letters and letter combinations represent sounds and use this information to blend together simple words such as hat or dog.

 

Stage 2 of the Reading Process: Fluency (Ages 7-8)

Once children have mastered the decoding skills of reading, they begin to develop fluency and other strategies to increase meaning from print. These children are ready to read without sounding everything out. They begin to recognize whole words by their visual image and orthographic knowledge. They identify familiar patterns and achieve automaticity in word recognition and increase fluency as they practice reading recognizable texts.

 

Stage 3 or the Reading Process: Comprehension (Ages 8-14)

Children in this stage have mastered the reading process and are able to sound out unfamiliar words and read with fluency. Now the child is ready to use reading as a tool to acquire new knowledge and understanding. During this stage, vocabulary, prior knowledge, and strategic information become of utmost importance. Children will need to have the ability to understand sentences, paragraphs, and chapters as they read through text. Reading instruction during this phase includes the study of word morphology, roots, prefixes as well as a number of strategies to help reading comprehension and understanding.


Let’s keep it simple…

I’m not going to get too deep into the semantics of each reading phase and how it all works but Dr. G. Reid Lyon, a researcher in the field of neurology of dyslexia wrote a great article on children and the process of reading if you want to read it here.

So…now that you understand that there is a natural progression to reading, the big question is, will a child with dyslexia eventually learn to read naturally as they mature….

Will the reading come naturally for a dyslexic child at some point?

Nope. Reading does NOT and never will come naturally for a dyslexic child. A child with dyslexia does not wake up one morning and say, “I get it mom, it all makes sense now!” Nope. Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen.

This is just a fact. The International Dyslexia Association has a really good fact sheet on Dyslexia and the Brain.  You can read about it here.

Children with dyslexia read and spell everything phonetically and do not apply spelling rules. For example, if they are spelling the word said they will write sed.” When reading the word “horse,” the dyslexic child will make a mental picture of that word and every time he or she approaches the word “horse” in text, that mental picture comes to life. The problem with this strategy is that when they get to a word that they are unfamiliar with, they have no coping mechanisms to attack that particular word. Yikes!


There is GREAT news for kids with Dyslexia!!!

Even though the reading and spelling does not come naturally for a child with dyslexia, this does not mean that they can’t learn to read and spell. Kids with Dyslexia are really bright kids, that just need a different approach to reading and spelling. They need to learn the letters and letter combinations in a very very structured, systematic and cumulative approach. They need lots of repetition and practice and they need a lot of positive encouragement. Children with dyslexia need 3 crucial elements to their reading instruction:

  • Multisensory Teaching

  • Orton-Gillingham Program

  • Parent Support

What does multisensory mean?

See it – Say it – Hear it – Move with it!

When taught with a multi-sensory approach, children will learn all the letters, letter combinations, sounds and words by using all of their pathways – hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), touching (tactile) and moving (kinesthetic).

When learning the vowel combination ‘oa,’ for example, the child might first look at the letter combination on a picture of a GOAT, then close his/her eyes and listen to the sound, then trace the letters in the air while speaking out loud. This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the child as things will connect to each other and become memorable. Using a multi-sensory approach to reading will benefit ALL learners, not just those with dyslexia.

What is Orton-Gillingham?

The other significant component in helping a child with dyslexia learn to read and spell is utilizing an Orton-Gillingham approach. In Orton-Gillingham, the sounds are introduced in a systematic, sequential and cumulative process. The Orton-Gillingham teacher, tutor or parent begins with the most basic elements of the English language. Using lots of different multisensory strategies and lots of repetition, each spelling rule is taught one at a time. By presenting one rule at a time and practicing it until the child can apply it with automaticity and fluency, a child with dyslexia will  have no reading gaps in their reading and spelling skills.

Children are also taught how to listen to words or syllables and break them into individual sounds. They also take each individual sounds and blend them into a words, change the sounds in the words, delete sounds, and compare sounds. For example, “…in the word steak, what is the first sound you hear? What is the vowel combination you hear?  What is the last sound you hear? Children are also taught to recognize and manipulate these sounds.  “…what sound does the ‘ea’ make in the word steak? Say steak. Say steak again but instead of the ‘st’ say ‘br.’-  BREAK!

Every lesson the student learns in Orton-Gillingham is in a structured and orderly fashion. The child is taught a skill and doesn’t progress to the next skill until the current skill is mastered. Orton-Gillingham is extremely repetitive. As the children learn new material, they continue to review old material until it is stored into the child’s long-term memory.

It is like learning a foreign language.

Kids with Dyslexia need more structure and repetition in their reading instruction.  They need to learn basic language sounds and the letters that make them, starting from the very beginning and moving forward in a gradual step by step process. Think of it as if your child is learning a foreign language for the first time. He or she needs to start at the very beginning, learn the pronunciation of each letter in the alphabet as well as all the different spelling and language rules related to the foreign language. This needs to be delivered in a systematic, sequential and cumulative approach. For all of this to “stick” the child will need to do this by using their eyes, ears, voices, and hands.

If you want to learn more about an Orton-Gillingham Dyslexia Reading Program click on the video below:

If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also enjoy reading, My child might have Dyslexia… what do I do?

Thank you so much for visiting my Blog today!


Karina Richland, M.A., developed the PRIDE Reading Program, an Orton-Gillingham program for struggling readers, based on her extensive experience working with children with learning differences over the past 30 years.  She has been a teacher, educational consultant and the Executive Director of PRIDE Learning Centers in Southern California.  Please feel free to email her with any questions at info@pridelearningcenter.com.  Visit the PRIDE Reading Program website at https://www.pridereadingprogram.com

Multisensory Spelling Strategies

Multisensory Spelling Strategies

Studies from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development have shown that for children with difficulties learning to spell, a multisensory teaching method is the most effective way for these students to learn.  Multisensory teaching means the teacher must tap into all learning modalities – see it (visual), feel it (tactile), hear it (auditory) and move with it (kinesthetic).  Here are a few suggestions on how to make spelling lessons fun, creative, engaging and multisenrory.

 

  • Trace words with a pencil or pen while spelling the word.  Then trace with an eraser.  Get up and do 5 jumping jacks.  Now write the word and check for accuracy.
  • Write the words by syllables in different colored markers.
  • Pair up with another student and write words on each other’s back with a finger.  Have the partner guess what the word is.
  • While sitting on a carpet, write down each word directly onto the carpet with two fingers.
  • Trace over each word at least three different times in different color crayons so that the words look like rainbows.
  • Pair up with another student and take turns jumping rope while spelling the words out loud.
  • Clap your hands to each letter as you spell the words out loud.
  • Type each of the words in 5 different fonts, colors, and sizes.
  • Bounce a ball to each letter in the word.
  • Practice writing the words with neon gel pens on black paper.
  • Write the words on individual chalkboards using colored chalk.
  • Finger-paint the words using frosting on wax paper or paper plates.
  • Spell the words using alphabet manipulatives such as magnetic letters or letter tiles.

 

Learn more about the New PRIDE Reading Program

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Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder of PRIDE Learning Centers, located throughout Southern California. Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

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