Blog Archive

Friday, June 16, 2017

What You Need to Know About Boosting Tier 2 Vocabulary

Vocabulary is a key component to learning. Not only is it an important part of communication, but it is one of the essential layers for establishing literacy. The National Reading Panel, 2001 identified Vocabulary as one of the 5 key components for learning to read (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, Text Comprehension). In addition, vocabulary is learned indirectly through conversation, life experiences, media, and listening to stories, as well as through direct instruction such as: word studies, frequent exposure and use, and a systematic approach. Vocabulary is essential for academic success, and both RtI (Response to Intervention) and speech-language therapy can be an important factor in remediation for vocabulary deficits. 
In this post I will outline what you need to know about Tier 2 Vocabulary, offer 8 fun intervention activities, and provide you with my Tier 2 Vocabulary FREEBIE!

What is Tier 2 Vocabulary?
  1. Tier 1-Basic Vocabulary (food, clothing, furniture, animals, etc.)
  1. Tier 2-Multiple Meaning Words/High Frequency Words
  1. Tier 3-Subject specific words (ex: scientific words)

Isabel Beck, the author of Bringing Words to Life and Creating Robust Vocabulary (affiliate links are provided below) identified three "TIERS" of vocabulary.

Proficient communicators understand and use words from all 3 Tiers effectively.

(Affiliate disclaimer: any purchase made through this Amazon link my result in a small profit for My Speech Tools).

Which Tier 2 Words Should I Target?

School curriculum and Common Core State Standards have identified specific vocabulary words necessary for success at each grade level. Speech-Language Pathologists must support instruction and remediation of academic language. We can also provide high interest, grade-level exposure to Tier 2 vocabulary. Activities can include: interactive read alouds, exposure and instruction in the use of figurative language, teaching strategies for learning, and instruction in prefixes and suffixes. Direct instruction and intervention can have an impact on the growth of a student's vocabulary skills. 

The Wind BlewHere is an example of the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 Vocabulary from one of my favorite read alouds. In Pat Hutchins' book, "The Wind Blew," the wind blows through the town catching several TIER 1 nouns, such as: a hat, scarf, flag, letters, wig, and a hanky.  The author uses TIER 2 words to elaborate and personify the wind, including: snatched, swept, content, tossed, whirled, and fluttering. Notice that these words are high frequency words, multiple meaning words, and can be used in different contexts.

How Do I Teach Tier 2 Vocabulary?

Below are a few of my favorite vocabulary activities. They can each be adapted for different grade levels and can be used individually or in group activities. The National Reading Panel emphasized the importance of targeting the four types of vocabulary (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing). These 8 activities can be adapted to target each of these vocabulary types.

graphic organizer
FRAYER MODEL - A four square model for vocabulary development that elaborates on concepts by targeting definitions synonyms, antonyms, examples, and non-examples. They can also be modified to include illustrations by students in order to provide visual representation of a concept.

graphic organizer
BUBBLE MAP - Used for brainstorming, associations, part/whole relationships, categories, adjectives, and more. Bubble Maps can be a part of your pre-reading, during-reading and after-reading lessons for vocabulary development and expansion.

VOCABULARY BINGO - A fantastic way to reinforce, wrap-up word studies, or use as part of your qualitative assessment.

JEOPARDY - "I'll take PLOT for 500 points." Set up a simple Jeopardy game using the target words and definitions. This is a fun game to include examples and non-examples for Tier 2 words and concepts.

MEMORY GAME - Write words on one set of cards and either examples or definitions on another and let students set up the cards like a memory match game. This can also be done with prefixes, suffixes and root words. If a prefix can be combined to a root word and the student can use the word effectively in a sentence, he gets to keep the match. 

ACTING OUT WORDS - You can never go wrong with a good game of charades! Allow students to act out Tier 2 words from stories read and discussed. 

VOCABULARY PICTIONARY - Give students a word bank for reference, then you or another student can draw out the concept or target TIER 2 vocabulary word. The first person to guess the word from the word bank is the next to draw.

graphic organizerMAKE CONNECTIONS - In order for new concepts to "stick" in a student's working memory, the words need to make sense and connect to prior knowledge. Allow students to make their own personal connections to Tier 2 vocabulary through a Text-to-Self activity (tell a story, give a personal experience, draw a picture, etc.).

I hope you have a better understanding of the importance of targeting TIER 2 Vocabulary and plan to implement a few fun activities that were outlined here for you. I want you to have my TIER 2 Vocabulary FREEBIE today. If you have not already signed up for my newsletter, complete the form below or in the sidebar. You will receive my TIER 2 VOCABULARY ROLL AND DOT activity. You will also receive my weekly emails sent directly to your inbox. 
Roll and Dot
Lisa, SLP

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