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Judi,
Your hunch is very informed. I have been in learning assistance and
adult education/retraining for 30 years and the main reason students
fail to do well in standardized vocabulary tests, in my experience, is a
lack of reading skills. For some, it may be based on reading
disabilities but for many it is based on very little opportunity for
actual reading, for pleasure or otherwise. Adding a mandatory reading
assignment may do little but to push the students who claim to hate
reading to do even less. In the past, in my ABE/GED classes, I
encouraged students to read any material they could find on their
favorite topics. Some would bring in the manuals for motorcycle repair,
others would bring Guns and Ammo magazine. I would give them assignments
from such material.

We seem to agree that teaching vocabulary outside of context may not be
as valuable as teaching it within, simply because students are more
likely to retain the knowledge that is based on real ideas rather than
by simple rote memorization.

Anastasia P. "Sissy" Campbell
8918 Dove Road
Canyon, TX 79015
(806) 576-7898
[log in to unmask]


-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Salsburg, Judi
(Transitional Studies)
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 12:11 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Question on teaching vocabulary

Colleagues--

This is a great question and one I struggled with as a teacher for many
years. I can't be certain because I really don't know anything about the
cohort to which you are referring, but I have a strong hunch that the
lack of vocabulary knowledge is but one symptom of being a struggling
reader. Chances are pretty good that if students' reading skills
improved, their vocab would as well.

That said, I use the following strategies with my students: 1. Make sure
the word has some kind of context, so there is authentic application and
not just a list of words to memorize; 2. KIM Chart--a three column sheet
with the Keyword, Information about the word (definitions, synonyms, for
instance), and Memory, a way to remember the word, such as a picture; 3.
Concept Cards--not to be mistaken for a flashcard, Concept Cards answer
questions like What is it? What is it like? Examples? And then students
write the word in a sentence that is meaningful to them; 4. Use the word
or term in conversation and writing.

Good luck!

Judi Salsburg Taylor
Associate Professor
Monroe Community College
Rochester, NY 14623
(585)292-3275

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Donna Hill
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 12:04 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Question on teaching vocabulary

Our vice president in charge of Adult Ed forwarded me the following
email asking if I had any suggestions. He'd like to set up some type of
professional development for his instructors on teaching vocabulary.
Anybody have any ideas?

 >> >> Blake, It is an observation with our students, they do not have
the VOCABULARY knowledge when studying for the GED test's Science,
Social Studies & Language Arts, Reading sections THEN, those that are
preparing for the COMPASS test. They come across words that they just do
not know. For example, these come from the PE version of the Practice Test:
melancholy
constituent
immobilized
hybrid
abolitioist
tolerance
effacement
prospective

Is there a system for teaching vocabulary/lists of
suggested-words-one-might-need-to-know for high school/college level?<<

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