Hanson, S., & Padua, Jennifer F. M. (2011). Teaching Vocabulary Explicitly. Honolulu: Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL).
Teaching Vocabulary Explicitly aims to explain the effective ways for teaching vocabulary. Interestingly the authors begin the book by sharing an anecdote with the readers. In the section “A Teacher’s Story”, the book talks about how a secondary school teacher faces difficulty in helping a 4th grade student to overcome the hurdle in comprehending new words. The book then defines what a vocabulary is and explains its kinds. It then introduces two types of vocabulary needed for effective reading.
The next chapter reasons out to why teaching vocabulary is very important. Vocabulary knowledge is essential in comprehending a text. The authors make a distinction between the vocabulary reception when reading a narrative and an expository text. The next chapter deals with analyzing the essential components of vocabulary instruction. It takes Michael Graves’ concept of vocabulary. According to him, there are four essential components of vocabulary instruction listed below.
- Providing rich and varied language experiences
- Teaching individual words explicitly
- Teaching word- learning strategies
- Fostering word consciousness
The next chapter focuses to emphasize on the importance to teach individual words explicitly. In addition to the words students learn incidentally through wide reading and other language- rich activities, students learn new words when they are taught these words explicitly. Without the direct, in- depth teaching of key words, most students will face difficulties understanding what they read.
The authors suggest three steps and four strategies for teaching individual words explicitly.
- Identify the potential list of words to be taught.
- Determine which of these words to teach
- Plan how to teach the words using the following strategies:
- Provide a student- friendly definition
- Use the word in context and give contextual information.
- Provide multiple exposures.
- Offer opportunities for active involvement.
In the next chapter the authors talk about word- learning strategies: word parts, context clues, and dictionary use. Here they explain what a process approach is and suggest three components for integrating the teaching of words parts into a vocabulary program.
- Provide students with knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, and root/ base words in focused lessons.
- Teach meaningful word parts explicitly as the need arises in the reading material.
- Teach students different strategies for analyzing the word parts.
The authors then place a few suggestions as to how a word can be remembered and comprehended quickly. This is followed by talking about the importance of dictionary reference in acquiring vocabulary and about the various vocabulary activities which will help the reception vocabulary turn in to a productive one. Only in the last chapter the authors talk about how this reception vocabulary knowledge can be connected to productive one. There is very little suggestion or explanation about the process of how a receptive vocabulary is transformed to the productive phase. The author concludes by saying that the above mentioned ways of teaching vocabulary explicitly will help the reading and vocabulary development to a large extent.