Date
14 April 2024

Strengthen vocabulary knowledge

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Supporting literacy and numeracy in NCEA’

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Provide lots of repetition

Provide lots of repetition

Offer multiple opportunities for ākonga to clarify their ideas and practice using new vocabulary. 

Build vocabulary knowledge

Build vocabulary knowledge

Supporting recognition of new vocabulary means ākonga can focus more on comprehension instead of decoding.

The literacy pedagogy guides contain useful links for building vocabulary in each subject area.

  • Determine the words that might be challenging, before lessons.
  • Co-construct lists of topic specific vocabulary with ākonga, and revisit often.
  • Support ākonga to identify root words, prefixes and suffixes and build knowledge of their meanings. Point out patterns in the pronunciation and spelling of prefixes, suffixes, and vowels in selected words (e.g. rac-ism, sex-ism, age-ism).
  • Help ākonga link new words to existing knowledge (simpler synonyms they already know) and give opportunities to reinforce learning with meaningful communication.
  • Develop strategies to understand unfamiliar language (e.g. word families). Point out similarities and differences among words that belong to word families (e.g. define, definitely, definition).
  • Provide opportunities for ākonga to practice using new words to reinforce correct pronunciation and usage.
  • Ask open-ended questions that require ākonga to respond using the new words (e.g. Do you think racism, sexism, or ageism is more prevalent in our society? Why?).

Use word clusters

Use word clusters

In this science class, ākonga see, say, and organise words into clusters while discussing their meaning with their peers.

Connecting the written word with the spoken word is helpful for word recognition and spelling.

Build a word wall

Build a word wall

Keep new vocabulary visible, organise words into groups to support decoding (see academic wordlists) and illustrate where possible.

Word walls: A support for literacy in secondary school classrooms includes useful approaches for all subject areas.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

How can instruction help adolescent students with vocabulary?

Read time: 10 min

Research-based strategies for teaching difficult vocabulary to adolescent learners.

Publisher: AdLit | WETA

Visit website

Website

Reading instruction: Vocabulary

Read time: 6 min

Classroom strategies for adolescent learners explained.

Publisher: AdLit | WETA

Visit website

Website

WordSift.org

This free online software enables teachers and students to easily sift through texts. Cut and paste any text into WordSift. The program helps to quickly identify important words that appear in the text. Functions, such as visualisation of words, and thesaurus relationships are incorporated to help learners understand the meaning and morphology (root words and related words).

Publisher: WordSift.org

Visit website

Next steps

Return to the guide “Dyslexia and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Dyslexia and learning

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