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9-12 Vocabulary Instruction

Day 2 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.


Modeling (Day Two Mini-Lesson)

    1. Demonstrate how to integrate knowledge of a word’s definition into the context of a meaningful sentence. Using the activity entitled “Sentence Completion”, model for students how they might complete the first three or four items in the exercise. Think aloud as you write endings for the sentences on the board, the overhead, the SmartBoard, etc. Be sure that students understand why you included certain details and how these details create a meaningful context for the sentences.

    2. Include the whole class to work together and complete the remaining items in the activity. Lead students to suggest different ways to complete each sentence. After students review all of the suggestions for each sentence, guide them to choose the most effective completions and write them on their copy of the exercise. Or have students copy the completed sentences in their word-study notebooks.


Tier II Additions

  • Pair up with a student peer to complete lesson.

  • Allow student to have fewer words to write about.


Tier III Accommodations/Modifications

  • Pair up student to work with student peer or paraprofessional

  • Select 5 words or less for student to work on.

  • Allow for definitions to be short phrases or words.


Tier IV Modifications

  • Choose words that are more concrete than abstract.

  • Pre-teach teacher selected vocabulary words by pairing student with peer and/or paraprofessional.

  • Have student build a vocabulary notebook (which may include pictures, icons, drawings, and/or objects) with the aid of a peer, paraprofessional, and/or parent volunteer to help remember words.


Tier V Modifications

  • Use any previously listed accommodations/modifications needed.

  • Allow student to use all senses to learn a word. For example, some words are best learned by using motor movements (walk vs. gallop), some through smell (aroma vs. odor), and some through touch (cool vs. icy).


Day 2 - Sentence Completion + 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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