This study looks at the outcomes of a carefully scaffolded project centered around teaching academic vocabulary effectively to a group of low performing students. The researcher looked at the theory behind the importance of language, how to teach vocabulary efficiently, and its effect on comprehension. The participating students completed a task built for the desired outcome of improving vocabulary recall and comprehension.
Academic Vocabulary, Reading Intervention, Reading Comprehension, Modalities of Learning, Scaffolded Learning Activities
A huge challenge that is seen in education across grade levels and across disciplines is finding a way to effectively teach academic vocabulary for student understanding and remembrance. Academic vocabulary is prevalent in more than just English classes, and continues beyond schooling. With the rise of Common Core, academic vocabulary has increased in priority for the College and Career Ready Standards. Some of the Common Core State Standards referring to academic vocabulary include “Interpret technical, connotative, and figurative meanings of words and phrases” (Reading Anchor Standard 4) and “Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases” (Language Anchor Standard 6).
Students need to understand directions to complete tasks in the classroom. For example, it is difficult for students to do a close read if they do not understand the difference between comparing and contrasting. Jim Burke, author of The English Teacher’s Companion reiterates the importance of the CCSS first reading standard dealing with close reading by explaining the list of academic verbs needed for students to be able to complete a close read effectively. In addition to the understanding of a given set of directions, students will need proficiency with academic vocabulary in order to display their mastery of the content.