Repeated research by Robert Marzano and others has shown that vocabulary instruction is most effective when it is learned in context and is intertwined with concept development in the early grades. High-quality vocabulary instruction is also deep and must involve the study of word structures and word parts to determine meaning. Students must be supported with many non-examples and examples of new words and how they can be used in order to develop rich vocabularies.
Of utmost importance instructionally is the teaching of Tier 2 academic language.Tier 2 words can be used across content areas and be used to help navigate complex text. The Internet has a wealth of tools and resources for supporting vocabulary instruction.
Digital tools allow students to:
- View images and videos related to new words
- Hear pronunciations
- See and read words in a variety of contexts
- Reinforce learning through gameplay
- Create visual representations of words and their meanings
- VocabAhead – Short videos targeted toward 6-12 students
- Word Hippo – Geared toward elementary students this site helps students discover antonyms, synonyms, rhymes and definitions.
- Wordsymth Kids – Interactive dictionary for younger students
- Visuwords – Online graphical dictionary
- Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary – A twist on the classic dictionary
- Word Dynamo – Lists, games, and quizzes from teacher-generated words.
- Lexipedia – Concept mapping dictionary
- Shahi – Visual dictionary that uses images from Flickr, Google, and Yahoo!
- Snappy Words – Another mapping dictionary for sorting words by concept
Apps for iPads:
- Word Slapps Vocabulary – Allows users to upload their own images and voice recordings.
- Montessori Crosswords – Students drag and drop letters to match beginning CVC words with images.
- Mad Libs – Digital version of an old classic
- Same Meaning Magic – Developed by Virginia Department of Education as a tool for teaching synonyms.
- Same Sound Spellbound – Helps students navigate common homophones.