These practical speech and language therapy strategies are intended to support the student’s vocabulary skills in the classroom.
- Encouraging a ‘word of the day’ use in as many contexts as possible.
- Modelling specific reading strategies to develop vocabulary, for example drawing on analogies (rain, snow, sleet) or word families (either linked to spelling patterns or meaning).
- Checking understanding of vocabulary meaning through targeted questioning in guided reading and writing sessions.
- Provide clear objectives for developing vocabulary, for example giving pupils 4 words and asking them to use them during the lesson.
- Modelling a piece of writing in front of the class, explaining and verbalising vocabulary choices as you go.
- Pre-teaching vocabulary before meeting it in a text, for example key words such as technical terms, or words in unfamiliar contexts.
- Make it meaningful and motivating to the student! The more relevant and accessible it is to them, the easier it will be to remember or recall. Explain the word in language the student can understand, not always a dictionary definition!
- Give a variety of examples of how a word is used across different contexts. This will help the pupil to understand the abstract meaning, and the range of different meanings a word may have.
- Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Reinforce target words regularly and over a long period of time to ensure retention.
- Encourage pupils to develop vocabulary during independent tasks by: Promoting the use of dictionaries, thesauruses and spelling investigations.
- Give pupils a vocabulary notebook to record unfamiliar or newly discovered words. This will assist in learning and reflecting on new words and phrases heard in everyday environments.
· Give each child a list of target vocabulary so they know what words they are expected to learn. This should be differentiated according to individual need.
· Use visual strategies to encourage vocabulary learning – use of word maps and mind maps.
· Keep completed word maps/mind maps etc. in a folder to create a semantic dictionary, that the pupil can access as/when needed.
A great resource is the word aware series: http://thinkingtalking.co.uk/word-aware/