Essential Questions for Vocabulary

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Many students are working hard to develop their vocabulary. Vocabulary development can assist with reading comprehension and self expression. This lesson offers some essential questions that aid vocabulary development.

Why Essential Questions for Vocabulary?

Vocabulary growth is such an important aspect of literacy development. A student with a strong vocabulary has a leg up in reading comprehension and is more likely to take on challenging texts from a variety of genres. Vocabulary can also help students express themselves well orally and in writing. Access to different registers of language helps students make subtle distinctions as they speak, listen, read and write.

Though vocabulary development is sometimes a matter of wide and diverse reading, and sometimes a matter of memorization and careful study, the process of developing a vocabulary works best with some essential questions in mind. Essential questions are conceptual questions that underlie any study. They may not have simple right or wrong answers because they're often abstract and complicated. As a teacher, you may not ever present essential questions to your students, but you will bear them in mind as you plan lessons, activities and experiences.

The essential questions in this lesson are related to vocabulary development. These questions don't relate to a specific list of vocabulary but, rather, to the general process of vocabulary attainment and the ideas behind it. While this isn't a comprehensive list, it will help you conceptually frame work you do with your students around building their vocabulary.

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