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9-12 Vocabulary Instruction

Days 3 and 4 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.

Page 2

Guided Practice (Days Three and Four Mini-Lessons)

    1. Choose one activity for each day that will support the kind of repetition that promotes long-term learning of vocabulary. Most of the activities can be completed by individuals or by students working in pairs or groups; some of the activities also lend themselves to games or competitions.

    2. See “Paired Choices” ,“Fill in the Blanks” (see also Tiers II & III activities), or “Ready, Set, Go Laps” , (see also Tier I & II activities) as good choices for daily mini-lesson activities. Activities designed for assessment of deeper word knowledge are “Creating Examples”, “Example vs. Non-example” , “Continuum”, and “Context Interpretation” and may also be useful for daily guided practice.


Days 3 and 4

Paired Choices


This activity asks students to select the word in the pair that answers the question. Sentences and paired choices may be duplicated for a pencil/paper activity. Or the activity can be done on the board or overhead as a game. [Example: The class is divided into two teams, and each team chooses a cartoon/story character as its representative. Both characters’ names are written on the board, and one word from each pair is written under each name. As the teacher reads the question, the class determines by applause which character gets to claim the point for having the correct word.]


avocation or vocation

Which of these would probably take up most of your time on Saturday?


provocative or vocal

Which of these would better describe your presentation if you were explaining a painless new way to lose weight?


provoke or revoke

Which of these might a judge do to your driver’s license if you got too many speeding tickets?


advocate or evoke

If you were wrongly accused of a crime, which of these would you want to have with you in the courtroom?


invocation or irrevocable

Which of these would better describe you parents’ decision not to allow you to get a hardship driver’s license?


Day 3 and Day 4 - Creating Examples, Example vs. Non-example, Continuum + 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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