What exactly is in a word? Perhaps more than we realize. A well-stocked vocabulary is what helps students make sense of what they read. That comprehension builds their overall understanding of the world around them.

Strengthening students’ grasp of language and knowledge takes more than merely learning a weekly list of core words, contended Dr. Elfrieda “Freddy” Hiebert, author of Scholastic W.O.R.D., in a recent edWebinar sponsored by Scholastic Digital Solutions. The webinar explored a more strategic approach to vocabulary acquisition.

So many words to know

There are many words that students might learn. Still, traditionally, they are required to learn a set of core words, which often appear to be randomly selected and are not connected thematically. The result is a limited foundational vocabulary that deters readers from the contextual richness of texts learners read.

Related content: How we turned around literacy instruction

Dr. Hiebert argued that students must be able to do more than decode words: They must be able to understand and link vocabulary contextually in what they read and give meaning to other words.

About the Author:

Michele Israel writes about the ideas and best practices that are shared in edWeb’s edWebinars so they can spread innovative and best practices to the education community. Michele owns Michele Israel Consulting, LLC, which serves large and small educational, nonprofit, media, corporate, eLearning, and blended-learning organizations to bolster products and programs. Her rich career spans over 25 years of successfully developing educational materials and resources, designing and facilitating training, generating communication materials and grant proposals, and assisting in organizational and program development. In addition to lesson plans and other teacher resources, Michele’s portfolio includes published articles covering a range of educational and business topics.


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