The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 1 | Page 24


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My question is, “Why do some teachers talk so little about the importance of cultural identity in the classroom?”


Resourceful Research




Category exclusion and word sorts are part of a broader skillset that includes understanding that words are similar and different. Marzano (2001) identified this skill as one of nine high-yield teaching strategies in his meta-analysis of instructional methods. These strategies allow students to think about the content and relationships in the content. Armbruster, Lehr, and Osborn (2003) recommend teaching word meanings (including multiple meaning words) in context. The aforementioned strategies afford the student that context. Instructing students that the meanings of words are affected by context provides them a word learning strategy that can be used beyond the words being taught in the moment (Nelson & Stage, 2007). Once students generalize word-learning strategies, they can utilize the strategy when needed without teacher scaffolding. Yes, No,Why? and the use of metacognitive questions are grounded in Self-Regulated Learning Theory (Zimmerman & Pons, 1986). These strategies enable students to integrate knowledge of multiple meaning words in authentic ways.


This article has provided evidence-based practices for educators to use to expand students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing vocabularies. According to Stahl (2005) "Vocabulary knowledge is knowledge; the knowledge of a word not only implies a definition, but also implies how that word fits into the world" (ch. 5, para. 2). This is important because children should not simply be drilled on vocabulary and be expected to memorize definitions and merely use them in a sentence. In today’s world, children need vocabulary breadth and depth. Anumber of the referenced strategies can be utilized in tandem to help students understand how words fit into the world. These strategies can also be taught and used before reading, during reading and after reading. By doing so, students are actively engaged with the text they are reading and this can have a positive impact on listening and reading comprehension.


Table 1

Engagement Activities/Strategies for Explicit Vocabulary Instruction




Yes/No QuestioningWould a cabin in the woods be remote? Why is this so?

Multiple MeaningsWhat would the word surf mean to a computer programmer?

To a chef? To a person who lives by the ocean? Student explains his/her


Word Sorts by CategoryGiven a set of vocabulary words, students are asked to sort the words by

category. Why do these go together? (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton,

& Johnson, 2015)

Category ExclusionGiven a group of words, which one doesn’t belong with the others? Why?

Multiple Meanings-Who

needs to know? Who needs to know what the word evidence means? Students generate

as many answers as possible. Students explain their thinking.

Metacognitive QuestionsAfter the student answers a question, ask, “How did you know? Or tell me

about your thinking. Or you are right! How did you figure that out?”Students

generate as many answers as possible. Students explain their thinking.