Teaching Strategies and Examples: Teaching Vocabulary Using Storybooks
Critical Design Features of Storybook Instruction
- Repeated readings of stories (alternated)
- Classic stories or on lists of recommended readings
- Performance reading style (Extended introduction; few interruptions during reading, dialogue after reading)
- 3 target words per story
- Scaffolded story grammar introduction and retell
How to Select Words to Preteach
- Identify words that are critical to story understanding that are not explained in the text.
- Select words students will "encounter" again (moderate frequency words)
- Preteach meanings of words using examples, synonyms, definitions
- Provide children opportunities to use the words.
Selecting Words to Preteach: Example Books and Target Words
|Harry, the Dirty Dog
by Gene Zion (1956)
|buried||Put in the ground and covered with dirt|
|strange||Someone (or something) that you don't know|
|furiously||Fast and wildly|
|Pete's a Pizza
by William Steig (1998)
|mood||How you act or feel|
|kneading||Pushing and squeezing|
|Hush! A Thai Lullaby
by Minfong Ho (1996)
|ceiling||Top of a room|
|If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...
by Laura Numeroff (1985)
|sign||Write your name|
|Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina (1940)
|peddler||Someone who travels and sells things|
|stamped||To put your foot down hard|
|disturb||To move out of place|
|See References for all books|
Storybook Estimated Time and Sequence
Storybook Reading Lesson 1
- Story Introduction (3 - 4 minutes)
- Title, author, illustrator
- Rationale for reading
- Cover presentation, prediction
- Focus on story elements (character, setting, etc.)
- Introduce 3 target vocabulary words
- Reading (4 - 6 minutes)
- Few interruptions; pause for target vocabulary words
- Post-Reading Discussion Questions (3 - 5 minutes)
- Relate to student experiences
Storybook Reading Lesson 2
|Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963), see References|
Lesson 2 Vocabulary Activity
- "Remember we had 3 magic words that you listened for in the story." (Point to the words on the tagboard as you repeat them quickly): "mischief, terrible, rumpus."
- "The first word was mischief." (Show the picture where Max is chasing the dog.) "In the picture, Max is making . (mischief)
- "The next word was terrible." (Show the picture with Max landing at the place where the wild things are.) "The wild things had eyes that were ." (terrible)
- "The third word was rumpus." (Show the picture where the wild things are howling at the moon.) "Max led the wild things in a ." (rumpus)
Lesson 2 Vocabulary Activity: Target Words in Context
- Show the picture where Max is chasing the dog
- "Mischief is naughty things.
- "What is mischief? (naughty things)
- "On the night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another, he did many naughty things.
- Show the picture with Max landing at the place where the wild things are.
- "Terrible is very bad.
- "What is terrible? (very bad)
- "They roared their terrible roars, their very bad roars.
- Show the first of three picture pages without text.
- "Rumpus is wild play.
- "What is rumpus? (wild play)
- "Let the rumpus, the wild play, start!
Storybook Reading Lesson 3
- Vocabulary Review (2 - 3 minutes)
- Reintroduce Words
- Vocabulary Activity (4 - 6 minutes)
- Word games
- Story Retell (4 - 6 minutes)
- Students narrate
- Questions about story elements
Guess the Word Game
"You are going to tell me which word goes with another word. If you get it right, I will give the group a star."
- "Which words go with terrible? Very bad or very nice?
- "Which words go with rumpus? Playing dolls or wild play?
- "Which words go with mischief? Naughty things or helpful things?
What is the Magic Word? Game
"See if you can tell me what I am talking about. I will give you a star each time you are right."
- "The dog barked a very bad bark. What is our magic word for very bad?" (terrible) If incorrect or no response ask, "Was it terrible? Yes, terrible. The dog barked a terrible bark. Say that." (The dog barked a terrible bark.)
- "Max was sent to his room for doing naughty things. Which magic word am I talking about? (mischief) If incorrect or no response ask, "Was it mischief? Yes, mischief. Max got sent to his room for doing mischief. Say that." (Max got sent to his room for doing mischief.)
"Now try your best to remember what happens in the story. I will help you by asking questions and showing pictures. Be sure to tell me the names of the characters, where the story takes place, and the problems the characters have. Tell me the story as if you were telling it to a friend who has never heard it."