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About the Vocabulary
Question:How are the vocabulary words chosen?
Answer:The target vocabulary words are chosen according to the following criteria:
- Each word represents high-level, sophisticated vocabulary, rather than vocabulary that primary grade students are expected to decode (such as high-frequency words).
- The words are generative in nature: they are words that students can use in other contexts, or will hear in other contexts. Similarly, they might include prefixes, suffixes, or root words that students can apply to new words.
- The words are terms that students are likely to encounter in reading texts as they move from the primary grades, with a focus on decodable texts, to the intermediate grades. Regular vocabulary deposits are made in students’ oral language banks in the primary grades to prepare them for the more challenging texts—and tests—that they will encounter in the intermediate grades.
- Each lesson includes at least one noun and at least one verb, to ensure that students increase their vocabulary and develop their skills in acquiring different parts of speech. Adjectives, adverbs, and expressions are also included, as appropriate for the image and the discussion.
Question:How are the vocabulary words taught?
Answer:Each new vocabulary word is taught in the following ways:
- Each new vocabulary word is introduced with enough syntactic and semantic context to help students figure out the meaning of the word on their own.
- Students then have the opportunity to repeat the word in a meaningful context using a complete sentence.
- Students use the word in context as they discuss and explore the new image.
- Each lesson ends with a Quick Question Review that checks students’ understanding of each word introduced n the lesson. These questions are written as Every Pupil Response to help teachers easily assess learning for the whole class rather than just for one or two students.
- Vocabulary tips provide teachers with concrete ideas for repeating vocabulary throughout the day. Sentence frames help teachers help students use vocabulary successfully. The vocabulary tips and sentence frames also provide teachers with ideas to encourage syntactic variety. For example, verbs are used in different tenses and with a person as the subject and the object, as well as in the passive and active voices. Syntactic variety has been shown to be a key component in helping language learners acquire and retain new vocabulary.
- Vocabulary words are reviewed and repeated in subsequent lessons. Like syntactic variety, using vocabulary words in different contexts will help students retain words and use them in their own speech and writing.
Question:If the goal is oral vocabulary and language, why is the program based on images?
Answer:In Discussions4Learning, fine art and real-world photos serve as authentic, meaningful contexts for acquiring and using new vocabulary. Students’ attention is focused on discussing the images, and the vocabulary provides the critical vehicle for that discussion.
Read what teachers are saying about using Discussions4Learning with their students.
Vocabulary is the single biggest predictor of reading comprehension. The best way for students to acquire vocabulary is through oral language experiences. Discussions4Learning’s oral language experiences give students consistent opportunities to use vocabulary words that are:
- High-level: Rarely found on K–5 vocabulary lists;
- Generative: Likely to be encountered in other contexts;
- Diverse: At least one noun and one verb in every lesson, plus adjectives, adverbs, and expressions.