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Charles E. Riley Elementary School
269 East 8th Street
Oswego, New York 13126
fax 315-341-2980
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Academic Vocabulary 

Vocabulary For Success & the Common Core, Dr. Doug Fisher

ELL Students and Academic Vocabulary

Robert Marzano and Debra Pickering emphasize the importance of teaching  academic vocabulary to ELLs in a six step approach in their book, Building Academic Vocabulary.

Six Step Process for Teaching Academic Vocabulary

1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term. If  possible, add a visual representation of the word.

2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words. 

3. Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic of the term. 

4. Engage students every other week in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms.

5. Every other week ask students to discuss the terms with one another.

6. Once a week involve students in games that allow them to play with the terms.

   Games seem to engage students at a high level and have a powerful effect on students' recall of the terms.




Vocabulary Tools

Providing teachers with a variety of tools to teach academic vocabulary 

More Tools

Jeff Zwiers gives us a variety of great tools on his website

Academic Language Development Network

One of the main purposes of this network is to share ongoing research and professional development resources for building system-wide capacity to meet the instructional needs of academic English learners.


20 Minute ESL Vocabulary Lessons

Designed to build communication skills, with a Listening and Discussion activity. 



Academic Vocabulary Games

This website from Jefferson County Schools in Tennessee offers academic vocabulary lists for grades K-12. In addition to lists of vocabulary for specific content areas, there are lots of games, with downloads for the game boards and content word cards.


Catherine Snow: Intervening to Increase General Academic Vocabulary

Catherine Snow's powerpoint, "Intervening to Increase General Academic Vocabulary." This PowerPoint was featured at the CREATE Conference in 2008. It includes information on the Word Generation program that was created in response to her research on explicit vocabulary teaching and academic content learning. Includes study information and description of how the Word Generation program works.


Catherine Snow: Word Generation

Catherine Snow's new website provides information and resources for educators who would like to learn more about Word Generation and how it is implemented. Includes links to comprehensive academic word list that students need to master to comprehend academic content.


Discovery Education: Puzzlemaker

Puzzlemaker is a free puzzle generation tool for teachers, students and parents where users can create and print customized word search, criss-cross, math puzzles, and more using their own word lists.


Education Oasis: Graphic Organizers for Vocabulary Development

Links to vocabulary development graphic organizers.


Internet Picture Dictionary

Free and online, multilingual picture dictionary with interactive activities in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.


Math Word List

Math word list for a 3rd grade math word wall from the Union County School District in South Carolina. This list may also be very useful for ELLs in higher grades with lower literacy and numeracy skills as well.


Spanish for Kids

Spanish for Kids provides activities, multimedia clips, online dictionaries, a directory of Spanish-language schools, travel logs, and a forum for Spanish-language learners


Teaching English Language Vocabulary

Here you will find a variety of activities and lesson plans designed specifically for vocabulary instruction for English language learners.


English Language Learners and Academic Language

Helping English-language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core.




Related Files

    pdf Academic Vocabulary Resources (pdf file - 173 KB)

    pdf pdf file: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or higher) to view this file. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Macintosh.

Related Links
    » Vocabulary Instruction
    » Words Their Way
    » Vocabulary Activities
    » Building Academic Vocabulary-Word in English & Spanish
    20 page document with Grades K-5 vocabulary in both English and Spanish. Thanks to Oklahoma City Schools.

Laura Stevens