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9-12 Vocabulary Instruction

Day I of a Five-Day Plan



Essential Element Vocabulary Instruction


Framework Strand: Reading

Standard 11: Vocabulary, Word Study, and Fluency

Students shall acquire and apply skills in vocabulary development

and word analysis to be able to read fluently.


Grade 9: R.11.9.1 (reading) .2 (roots, pre/suffix) .3 (references)

Grade 10: R.11.10.1 (reading) 2.(Greek/Latin roots pre/suffix) 3.(references)

Grade 11: R.11.11.1 (specialized vocabulary) 2.(roots, word parts

3. (references)

Grade 12: R.11.12.1 (specialized vocabulary) 2.(Greek, Latin,Anglo-Saxon)

3. (references)



The relationship between word knowledge and reading comprehension is well established and has been clearly stated for years. As early as the 1940s, research has noted that the connection between word knowledge and comprehension is undisputed. Yet typical classroom practice in helping students develop vocabulary skills has not always met with great success. Often teachers have relied on a programmed vocabulary book or a weekly list of words with the accompanying admonition to “look it up in the dictionary.”


More effective instruction, however, includes integration, repetition, and meaningful use. Moreover, this kind of explicit instruction involves planning, flexibility, and variety so that students find the work not only challenging but interesting and perhaps fun as well. In addition to an increased amount of time for reading, students need opportunities to hear and use words in natural sentence contexts. They need to focus on words or concepts that have major impact on comprehension rather than “covering” many words superficially, and they need explicit instruction that leads them to become independent word learners.



  • Manageable word lists designed to have impact on reading comprehension (5 to 10 words per week recommended)

  • Copies of activities designed to provide integration, repetition, and meaningful use (helpful resources: Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Beck, McKeown and Lucan; Words, Words, Words: Teaching Vocabulary in Grades 4-12 by Janet Allen) Activities are designed to be used as mini-lessons requiring 10 to 15 minutes per day during the course of the instruction cycle.



Direct Instruction (Day One Mini-Lesson)

    1. Create and distribute a list of 5 to 10 words. The list may include a) content-specific words needed for comprehension of textbook or other teaching material, b) high-frequency words necessary for improved reading comprehension, or c) selected words designed to teach a specific word-learning strategy.

    2. In a whole-group activity, lead students to generate definitions that are accurate but “user-friendly.” If students use dictionaries during this process, lead the class to discuss the dictionary definitions and develop their own definitions phrased for maximum understanding. If the vocabulary list includes words designed to teach a specific work-learning strategy, include an explanation of how this strategy works. [Example: teach how knowledge of the voc- and vok- root can help discover the meaning of new words.] End the lesson by having students come to consensus and copy the agreed-upon definitions in a word-study notebook or other appropriate place.

    3. See “voc- and vok-” for an example of the types of definitions that students might produce.


 Day 1 - Voc- and Vok + Worksheets


Copyright © 2006 Arkansas Department of Education. All rights reserved. School districts may reproduce these materials for in-school student use only. No resale. Materials may not be reproduced, distributed or sold for commercial use or profit. ADE employees are not authorized to waive these restrictions.

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