SIOP Feature #9:  Emphasize key vocabulary for students.

​Part of the second component of SIOP, Building Background, is working with vocabulary.  Calling attention to the lesson’s key terminology is important for not just English learners but for all students who struggle with academic vocabulary. Explicitly working with vocabulary at the beginning of a lesson is an effective way of getting students to focus on language as well as content during the lesson.

Student learning in school

SIOP Feature #9:  Emphasize Key Vocabulary for Students

Form, Usage, Meaning. Pronunciation

Beginning the lesson by highlighting key terms that students need to know sets the tone for the class and helps students focus their attention on vocabulary.  There are a number of ways that teachers can help students interact with key aspects of language from the start of the lesson.  Teachers need to introduce students to four aspects of vocabulary in order to lead them towards ownership.  The four components of vocabulary are:

  • Form = what the word looks like
  • Usage = how the word is used
  • Meaning = what the word means
  • Pronunciation = how the word sounds

Of these four aspects of vocabulary, most teachers spend the majority of their time on form (think spelling tests) and meaning (think definitions).  Little time is spent on usage and pronunciation.  The latter are critical to building confidence and competence, especially for English learners.

TESOL Trainers' approach to vocabulary acquisition will transform the way your teachers and students work with vocabulary.

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Why should we emphasize key vocabulary for students?

Practicing the language of math: What's the product of ?

​There are four benefits to working with key vocabulary at the start of a lesson.  

  1. First, it previews the language that is important to understanding the content of the lesson, grounding the students. 
  2. Secondly, it helps students recognize and interact with the vocabulary during the lesson.
  3. Thirdly, it encourages students to continue to build their lexicons by showing what they should know.
  4. Lastly, teachers who spend time emphasizing vocabulary also give students time to practice the vocabulary.  This is key!

TESOL Trainers Vocabulary PD

TESOL Trainers provides one day and multiple day professional development on vocabulary acquisition.  We offer traditional professional development and remote teacher training workshops.  Here are some highlights:

  • Teachers understand the four aspects of vocabulary:  Form, Usage, Meaning, Pronuncation.
  • Teachers develop 10 strategies for getting student to move from renting to owning vocabulary.
  • Teachers practice strategies to help students pronounce language more confidently and competently.
  • Teachers experience model lessons in which vocabulary is taught in the context of the class, highlighting key strategies.
  • Teachers create lessons and plans for integrating the content of the PD in their contexts.

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