How Can We Intentionally Expose Children to Rich Tier 2 Language and Model Vocabulary Acquisition Skills Using Incidental Means?
Young children learn words and language from interactions with parents, family, other children, and other adults. Classic research from studies like those done by Hart and Risley have shown that those interactions can vary depending on things like economic statues and basically put, the number of words a child hears and speaks. It is because of this that the number of words a child knows before coming to school is vast and varied. We as educators can combat this by being intentional when teaching children new words and their meanings.
From my review of literature, I have learned that children do not learn as many words from reading in the early grades because much of what they are reading comes from leveled or decodable text that are designed to help them practice spelling patterns and comprehension strategies to build accuracy with those specific spelling patterns and comprehension strategies. Those decodable text are mostly made up of words that students already know. From my observations of several classroom, I notice that early grade educators spend a good majority of their instructional time helping student learn to decode and recognize words, and rightfully so because this is a big part of children being able to independently read and comprehend text. It is important to mention that Gough and Tunmer's Simple View of Reading (1986) notes that skilled reading is both language comprehension and word recognition. This serves as a reminder that both sides of the equations are important to help students achieve skilled reading. The question is, what can we as educators do to intentionally expose the children we teach to rich tier 2 vocabulary?
Research shows that word meanings are learned both incidentally through exposure and intentionally through word teaching. It makes sense that early grade teachers would do both. Further, since this is true, it is also true that intentionally creating incidental opportunities for children to learn words also makes sense. Below 👇🏾 I have a list of resources to help teachers teach vocabulary with incidental and intentional exposure in their classrooms.
Incidental Exposures (Read Alouds)
Pearl Garden, Ed.D has completed her dissertation research involving understanding the vocabulary instruction practices of early grade teachers. She has a passion for the new and novice educator, and it is her goal to help educators tackle the achievement gap with her research findings. She will use this blog to share what she has learned in “pearls of literacy”. The ideas come from her dissertation titled “A Content Analysis of the Vocabulary Instruction Habits by Early Grade Teachers”.