Vocabulary Goal Ideas
- When given a pre-taught vocabulary word, NAME will provide the meaning of the word with no prompts or support in 4 out of 5 opportunities across 2 sessions.
- Given a sentence and a familiar visual, NAME will state the part of speech of an underlined word with 75% accuracy across 3 sessions.
- NAME will use vocabulary strategies (e.g., part of speech, context clues, affixes, dictionary use) to define unfamiliar words found in short texts in 75% of opportunities given a visual.
- After listening to a 2-3 paragraph informational text, NAME will define two tier 2 vocabulary words that were used in the passage in 75% of opportunities across 3 sessions.
Read more about my goals here.
Teaching Semantic and Vocabulary Skills
Direct vocabulary instruction is another key facet of your word-level language interventions. This means you’re providing explicit instruction for individual words and word-learning strategies.
For me, this looks like studying individual words explictly and direclty including the word’s:
- Phonology – How does the word sound? Say it out loud. Break it apart syllable by syllable.
- Orthology – How is the word written? Read it. Spell it.
- Morphology – What word parts are in the word? Identify any root words, prefixes, or suffixes.
- Semantics – What does it mean? Define the word in child-friendly language that they can understand. Label and discuss the part of speech. Share similar or related words.
- Syntax – How can the word be used? Give several examples of the word in phrases and sentences. Elicit conversation about it.
Doing this ensures greater word learning and understanding (beyond surface level understanding of a word). Directly teaching these strategies to our students helps them build in-depth word knowledge.
Here’s the step-by-step process I follow with a new word (that incorporates each of the areas I listed above):
1 – Say the word out loud.
2 – Write the word.
3 – Count the syllables, identify rhyming words, or do phonemic awareness activities with the word (blending, segmenting, etc..).
3 – Activate background knowledge of the word. Assess current familiarly with the word.
4 – Explicity teach and discuss a child-friendly definition of the word.
5 – Discuss any affixes or morphological features in the word. Provide related words, or words in the same word family (like melt, melted, meld, mold, etc…).
6 – Describe real pictures using the target word (within sentence).
7 – Draw the word to help solidify the word’s meaning.
8 – Real the word in a sentence. Discuss it in context.
9 – Do conversation activities using the word. Ask and answer questions about it.
For ideas on how to choose vocabulary targets, you can learn more here: Words
Targeting words directly like this is a research-supported way to boost our student’s vocabulary skills. And it is also most effective when done in context! Read on for some ideas on how to do this process within contextualized, story, or themed units.
Targeting Vocabulary in Context
Directly teaching vocabulary words can easily be done in context by pairing vocabulary worksheets (like the ones shown above) with related books, stories, texts, themes, seasons, and activities. I still follow the steps above, but relate the target and content to a bigger unit, theme, story, or topic.
Here’s some examples of words I might target alongside certain themes or story units:
🌷 Spring Unit – grow, melt
🚀 Searching for Home Story Unit – searching, hostile, frigid
🪐 Outer Space – far, explore, launch, many, orbit, rotate
🍳 Cooking – prepare, edible, melt, blend, fresh
🦖 Dinosaurs – different, enormous, giant, extinct
Download a free Camping Themed Mini unit here to see target words including “quiet”, “prepare”, and “construct” using a fun and engaging camping theme!
You can also do this with your favorite picture books! I like to put a sticky note inside the cover with vocabulary words I could target using my most used books.
Check out my story units and themed therapy units below to see examples of contextualized units made specifically for speech and language therapy sessions. These make it super easy to directly teach relevant vocabulary alongside themed units or narrative units.Shop Story Units Shop Themed Units