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Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Study Party Literacy Beginnings Chapter 7: Developing Strong Oral Vocabularies in PreK

Here are my thoughts on Chapter 7 of the Literacy Beginnings Book Study Blog Party hosted by Vanessa Levin of Pre-K Pages.
Pre-K Pages

Chapter 7 was hosted by Brick by Brick:
Click on the picture for the link

This chapter addressed Vocabulary Expansion in PreK. Through reading this chapter, I realized I have not put enough emphasis on vocabulary as I should. That will be changing. :)

The authors divide vocabulary into 2 sections:

Reading/Writing and Speaking/Listening.

My favorite quote from this section:
"Vocabulary contributes significantly to reading comprehension."
Whoa. That puts a lot more weight on the subject of vocabulary than I anticipated.

The authors also inform the reader that vocabulary is cumulative.
"The more words we know, the easier it is to make the connections that help us learn more."

Those connections take a while to build. Children must have several exposures to a new word in a meaningful way befoe it becomes part of ther personal reertoire. Did you see that?
"A meaningul way"
That means that those oh so popular word drills are ineffective in vocabulary expansion! I am so thrilled to see this in black and white! 

What is effective? I'm glad you asked. :)

Ways to expand vocabulary:

Intentional Planning  with Theme/Inquiry Study and Read Alouds: Plan for ways to connect vocabulary expansion to your current unit of study. Immerse your students in a subject by using new words related to your theme of study. Labeling animal, plant, and body parts, introducing and discussing types of transportation, studying types of insects and habitats, etc. Soon, you will hear your students adopting those new words. Check out KinderCorner for a HUGE resource and a great example of immersion and vocabulary expansion. She has tons of poems and songs for each theme. I am linking you to the pumpkin page because it is a great example, but please be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to browse her entire site- it is ginormous!
Remember those themed word walls from last chapter? Also, choose your Shared Reading Stories carefully and use them to introduce new and interesting words. Check out Hubbard's Cupboard for a fantastic Focus Story schedule of study! Be sure to take a look at her Quick Reference Shared Reading Book List found on this page.

Listening Center: Remember that children must hear and use a word several times before adopting it into their vocabulary bank? Let the Listening Center help you by providing that repetition! Record your voice, enlist family volunteers, use books on tape, cd, MP3, iPhone apps, etc. to allow students to hear their favorite stories, songs, poem,s and nursery rhymes over and over.

Shared and Interactive Reading: involve children in reading and singing poems, nursery rhymes, predictable charts...

Create a Print Rich Environment: label, label, label your room! Use children's interests to entice them into expanding their vocabulary by incorporating their names into familiar rhymes and activites like circle time games.

Here are some of my favorite resources:

Happy Vocabulary Expansion!

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