Marzano’s Six Step Vocabulary Teaching Process

Robert J. Marzano has become famous for testing instructional strategies to see if they result in quantitative achievement gains.  The following is a summary of his vocabulary learning strategy and some products and activities that may help you to implement the process.  (Be sure to do all six steps!  His research has shown it’s better to use all of the steps.)

Marzano’s Step

Products & Activities to Support Implementation

1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.   

Graphic Organizers Pocket Chart (for displaying the term and explanation)

Magnetic Pocket Chart Strips - 3 Pack (for displaying the term, an explanation, and an example)

2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.


Individual Whiteboards (one for each student to write it in their own words)

3. Ask students to construct a picture, picto- graph, or symbolic representation of the term.  


Individual Whiteboards (one for each student to draw their representation)

Wikki Stix (For each student to represent the term)

4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks.


Big Graphic Organizer Flip Chart (to compare and contrast the term with pictures and other words)

Building Essential Vocabulary Reproducible Book (use the terms in a graphic organizer to show connections between them and other terms or concepts)

5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.


Write-on/wipe-off dice (to write the 6 most recent key terms, 1 per face, and discuss what they know about them with open-ended prompts or sentence frames)

6. Involve students periodically in games that enable them to play with terms.


Write-on/wipe-off dice (to write the 6 most recent key terms, 1 per face) in small groups rolling and using the term in a sentence)

Build a Sentence Game (using word and phrase cards students make sentences-add target vocabulary and terms to the set of cards)

(Marzano, 2009, pp. 83-84)

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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