Score Yourself! Are You Teaching Vocabulary According to Research?


Take the quiz:  Are you or the teachers you supervise using research-based strategies to teach vocabulary to English Learners?  Give 3 points if your answer is "always"; 2 points if your answer is "sometimes"; and 1 point if your answer is "rarely".  Add up your total.


30-36 points You are utlizing research-based strategies in your vocabulary instruction near or all of the time.  Your students will benefit from your comprehensive and varied vocabulary instruction.  There may be one or 2 areas where you could use some new ideas or teaching tips.  Give yourself a pat on the back!

20-29 points You are using some solid research-based strategies inconsistently.  Choose a few strategies that you think you could easily incorporate into your teaching repertoire and consider making or buying some materials that would remind you to use that strategy more often in your vocabulary instruction.

19-12 points Your vocabulary instruction could use a real once-over!  You need to study the research-based practices in the chart and overhaul your teaching to include overt instruction of academic vocabulary. 


Strategy Suggested Materials/Blog Suggested Teaching Tip
My lesson plans focus on a few academic vocabulary words each week—these may be words most critical to understanding meaning from the core reading program and/or words from the content lessons I am teaching in math, science or social studies.  Tip: Focus Words on a Post-It
I teach the concept represented by the focus word and the English word at the same time.  Tip: Label Objects in a Scene
I teach vocabulary in whole group and small group instruction.  Tip: The Teacher from Mars
I use pictures, graphic organizers, and physical response to clarify word meaning Tip: Graphic Organizers
I use the internet as a source for pictures, video clips or other resources that will clarify meaning of focus words. Tip: What Picture Do You Have?
I encourage students to write “student friendly definitions” of focus words that apply their life experience and background knowledge to new words they are learning.  Tip: "I Am"
My lessons include opportunities for students to work in pairs or groups to practice academic words and to use them in carrying out in meaningful academic tasks. Tip: Use It!
I informally assess student understanding of targeted words during instruction and reteach if needed. Tip: Point It Out!
My classroom environment contains displays of the cumulative target words we have learned—and we frequently review and incorporate these words into on-going activities. Tip: Sort It Out!
As appropriate to my grade level, I include word study topics such as word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Tip: Word Family Sort
I teach students strategies for identifying words that are critical to meaning and strategies for finding their meaning. Tip: Charades for Key Vocabulary
My students and I celebrate their success in learning targeted words and enjoy vocabulary work.  Tip: Guess the Word


Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


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