University of Edinburgh

Promoting Literacy in Deaf Children

Presented on Friday, 7 December 2007

Learning New Vocabulary

Catherine Baldwin

When giving the spellings of new vocabulary to learn:

1. Give time to discuss meaning and use in context

2. Where appropriate, consider different meanings depending on context + highlight significance of homonyms
eg:Ben will train for the race.
I will catch a train to London.

3. Depending on level of children’s grammatical knowledge, indicate word class

eg: a train (noun) to train (verb)

4. Give time for pupils to listen to and say the new words you introduce – use St John’s phonetic alphabet and indicate the number of syllables and the stress pattern

eg: phonetic =  / fu  ne  tik  /

5. Encourage children to learn spellings by writing 6 times – emphasise look + cover + say + write + check

6. Always provide a definition or example of use and expect pupils to learn meaning/usage as well as spelling.

7. In the spelling test, check understanding of meaning/usage by using cloze sentences

eg: If the spellings learnt are train and fast
Choose the correct word to complete the 2 sentences:
1.  Ben will ……………………… for the race.
2.  He is a very ……………………….. runner.

NB: the cloze sentences must be easily understood by pupils

8. Reinforce previously learnt spellings and use in different contexts – it is very important to emphasise flexibility of meaning.

9. Do not ask pupils to learn spellings not previously discussed, for example from word lists.