Interesting Findings from a Vocabulary Study

Three interesting findings from a vocabulary study informing vocabulary teaching in primary and secondary schools.

As an evidence-based organisation, we geek out on studies and research. Let's take a look at an interesting study on a vocabulary programme by some of the greats and discuss.

When we set about developing Vocab, we looked carefully - and over a number of years - at the evidence, the reality of the classroom and schools, and what technology can (and can't!) improve. One informative study was Apthorp et al (2012): Effects of a Supplemental Vocabulary Program on Word Knowledge and Passage Comprehension. It’s a useful study for those trying to improve vocabulary in their school, or trying to embed vocabulary teaching in their curriculum.

Do teachers appreaciate resources that save time? Absolutely!

One conclusion from the study was that teachers appreciated the premade explanations of word meaning, supporting images, and multiple opportunities for student practice through varied prompts and guided activities in the vocabulary programme. Timesavers!

So, teachers liked pre-made resources and structure. We thought about this and now, Vocab offers many thousands of words with ready to use explanations, supporting images, and a carefully structured spaced learning delivery. We think this saves the average primary school over 50 hours of work in preparing disciplinary word lists and so forth.

How much time do I allocate to teaching vocabulary?

A second conclusion was around time allocation:

"Educators need to understand that extending that time (10-20 minutes) risks the reduction of instructional time for different and additional kinds of language and literacy input, content, and experiences."

Time is incredibly important and incredibly valuable to a teacher - and more importantly, to children learning to read. Striking the right balance in the various literacy strands can be challenging.

We suggest that, with ReadingWise Vocab, 5-10 minutes 3 times a week is enough to reinforce the target vocabulary brought to life in class - and to make it stick.

Which words should I choose for a vocabulary programme?

A third conclusion was on the selection of targeted words - an important factor.

"In making resource adoption decisions, it will be important to carefully consider if (the) targeted words are the right words; if they are not... (this programme) probably is not a good choice."

Working with so many hundreds of schools across the UK, we know that they are incredibly varied. It is highly likely that one set of words or target vocabulary may not be appropriate for every school. One size, we think, does not fit all.

School leaders (hello literacy coordinators!) are best placed to develop their target vocab for the community they serve.

ReadingWise Vocab allows schools to tailor the vocabulary to their setting, to their books, to their subjects - and endeavours to make this as quick and easy as possible (remember the value of time?!)

The study we're discussing is specific to its setting and its objectives. You can read the whole report via the link below. But we recognise common themes that emerge from this and other research and work to embed them into our R&D work.

How are you embedding vocabulary teaching?

How are you allocating time?

And - if you'd like to discuss our Vocab module - just arrange a demo!

Perhaps we can save you and your team tons of time while ensuring that your target vocabulary is reinforced - and sticks!

And here is a link to the full report mentioned in the thread.

Thanks for reading!

Arrange your 20-minute demo at a time to suit you.

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