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Words, Words, Words - Part 1: Introducing New *Decodable* Vocabulary Words

Our next several posts will be part of a series called Words, Words, Words. In this series, we focus on introducing and discussing words while using decodable texts. Let's get started with a focus on helping students understand the meaning of new decodable vocabulary.

Inside of decodable texts, students may encounter vocabulary that is within their realm of decodability (aka they can sound it out), but they may be unfamiliar with its meaning. Think about words like: cod, sip, nap, grip, seam, or boil----to give a few examples.

Sometimes we wondered: How do we introduce this word to students without taking away the decoding work that students can do? Here’s a replicable process.

Before meeting with students, preview the text with the lens of vocabulary in mind. Locate applicable words that are decodable, but likely unfamiliar to students. Introduce the words during a phonics warm up or text introduction. You can use a whiteboard, or point to the word directly inside the text. Here’s a replicable process.

  1. Ask children to decode the word, using their phonics knowledge. “This is a word that you can use your phonics to read. After we read it, we’ll talk about what it means.”

  2. Explain the word’s meaning using a child friendly definition, gestures, and illustrations from the text. Depending on the importance of the word, you may spend more or less time having students interact with the word. 

  3. Remind students of the definition and invite students to use the word during and after reading.

Stay tuned for our next post in Words, Words, Words.


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