How can I provide rich and varied language experiences and foster word consciousness?


Providing rich and varied language experiences:

(based on 6.11.10 workshop participants' text study of Graves, 2006, p. 38-43)
  • Explanation: We should ensure continual exposure to lots of words in lots of ways.
  • Rationale: We can't explicitly teach every word; we must also support incidental word learning. "Over time, wide reading makes the single largest contribution to vocabulary development..." (p. 39).
  • Significant Information:
    • Frequency of Rare Words in Various Sources (p. 41).
    • We questioned the assumption of Graves' strong advocacy for SSR or similar programs (p. 42) and discussed the need to align purpose with outcomes.

Fostering word consciousness:

(based on 6.11.10 workshop participants' text study of Graves, 2006, p. 32-33 and 119-139; Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, 2008, p. 569-601; Scott & Nagy in Baumann & Kame'enui, 201-217)
  • Explanation: Word consciousness refers to an awareness and an excitement of knowledge of words, word meanings, and word patterns during learning activities.
  • Rationale:
    • Despite a current lack of empirical data, many researchers strongly believe in the importance of
      word consciousness for motivation, understanding of purpose, and building of background knowledge. Though we shouldn't focus all of our efforts on this facet, we should find ways to foster this awareness and understanding of words and language.
    • See especially Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, p. 578.
  • Significant Information:
    • One participant suggested another resource: For the Love of Words.
    • Numbered Prefix Activity - promising idea for word play (Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, p. 585)
    • Lots of great ideas for activities such as word play with idioms, cliche', puns, others (Honig, Diamond, & Gutlohn, p. 580, 510, and throughout section)



Powerful Teaching Ideas:

  • Use interesting, sophisticated words and discuss them with your students!