fbpx

By Christine Clark

Part 1

All too often, students study vocabulary words for a test only to never think about them again once that test is over. They don’t realize, or perhaps don’t care, that they are being taught these words to utilize indefinitely, to include as part of their repertoire. Vocabulary is the keystone to comprehension, and developing an understanding of it in a deep way, through use in conversation and writing, is an essential life skill to be successful in a verbal world.

Our students are struggling with vocabulary (as well as reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension) because of an invalid assumption that they will just, “pick this stuff up,” as if by osmosis.(1) Though some may become comfortable and confident with new words on their own, setting the expectation that they will do so without direct, systematic, multisensory instruction is unrealistic. We wouldn’t expect these young people to intuit quantum physics, so why do we presume they will grasp the inherent complexities of the English language?(2)

We need to teach our students to understand words, rather than simply to memorize them. But helping them to develop the many layers of language-based skills required for this level of comprehension, over time as the complexity of age-level vocabulary increases, is no easy feat.

Words can be intimidating! Have you ever wondered:

  • Why can one word have so many different meanings? The word “beat” has well over a page of definitions in the dictionary, including the beat of a drum, beating someone in a race, to beat someone up, “beating around the bush,” etc. There’s a reason those books are so heavy!
  • How can the same word be used as a noun and a verb? Shouldn’t there be a law that it can’t be both?? But no, there’s bear as a noun, the animal; and bear as a verb, as in not being able to bear pain.(3)
  • Why are there words that sound the same, but are spelled and defined differently? There’s going to the store, having two legs, and wanting to have your cake, and eat it too.(4) It’s all just too much to bear.
  • What about words that sound and are spelled alike, but are different in usage, meaning, and/or pronunciation? Take the bow of a ship and a bow in your hair.(5) Just when you thought you had it down, foiled again (and I mean thwarted from succeeding to understand this ridiculousness; not wrapped in aluminum).
  • What are prefixes and suffixes, and how do they relate to the meaning of words? To complicate matters further, let’s add just a letter or two. If you’re adding them to the beginning of a word, it’s a prefix. For example, “re,” meaning to do again: rewrite, reexamine, redo. If you’re adding to the end of a word it’s a suffix, like “s,” which makes a word plural, changes its tense, or shows ownership: rugs, runs, Ben’s.
  • How am I ever going to keep all this straight? Morphology is a great place to start. That’s morpho, meaning indicating form or structure, and logy, meaning the study of. Learning and understanding word formation patterns will unlock meaning. This alone will help students decipher a myriad of vocabulary—particularly many words associated with science and social studies.

Understanding vocabulary involves individually processing the layers of language involved in each and every word. The student must learn to determine a word’s meaning based on a variety of conditions: spelling, which is based on orthographic memory; usage, which involves sentence structure and parts of speech; and context, which refers to the surrounding words. The kicker is that this must be done simultaneously.(6)

If you’re wondering why I’m talking about a kicker in a language blog, as opposed to a sports blog, you see my point. Stay tuned for our next post, when we’ll focus on how to help students gain a full understanding of vocabulary that lasts a lifetime.

 


(1) Clark, “The Structure of Language,” Copyright, 2010-2015, Christine M. Clark

(2) Clark, “The Structure of Language,” Copyright, 2010-2015, Christine M. Clark

(3) Homonym: a word that is spelled and pronounced like another word, but different in meaning

(4) Homophone: a word that is pronounced like another word, but is different in meaning, origin, or spelling.

(5) Homograph : a word that is spelled the same, but different in meaning or pronunciation

(6) Clark, “The Structure of Language”, Copyright 2010-2015, Christine M. Clark

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

©2018 Commonwealth Learning Center. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
Web Design by Jackrabbit

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: Commonwealth Learning Center admits students of any race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age to its programs and does not discriminate in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, or other school-administered policies. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy: Stephanie Smith, 220 Reservoir Street, Needham, MA 02494; (781) 444-5582.

Privacy Policy

Stratford Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Commonwealth Learning Center, Professional Training Institute, & Commonwealth Learning Online Institute

 Website Privacy Statement and Terms of Use Disclaimer

Revised: 11/15/2011

Scope
The Stratford Foundation Inc (Stratford) privacy statement applies to Stratford’s primary domain names commlearn.com, commlearntraining.com, commlearnonline.com and all its sub domains. Each of these separate domains are referred to, collectively, as the Stratford Foundation Website. The Stratford Foundation Inc strives to protect user’s privacy to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Data Collection and Usage
The Stratford Foundation Inc will not disclose personally identifiable information we collect from you to third parties without your permission except to the extent necessary including:

– To fulfill your requests for services.
– To protect ourselves from liability, or
– To respond to legal process or comply with law.

The Stratford Foundation Inc collects data from users to help fulfill the mission of the Foundation. The majority of information collected by Stratford is voluntarily provided by the user in connection with the completion of online forms or by the user’s web browser to facilitate communication with the Stratford Foundation Website. Collected information is not sold, loaned or shared with outside entities except where required by law or to fulfill the mission of the Foundation.

Secure Transactions
All transactions through the Stratford Foundation Website involving personal and financial information are processed through PayPal. Please go to the PayPal Privacy Policy for more information. When making online payments, credit card and bank information is not stored on Stratford’s systems.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
To comply with COPPA, children under the age of 13 should not submit any information to the Stratford Foundation Website without parental consent.

Disclaimers and Limitations of Liability
The views and opinions expressed on the Stratford Foundation Website do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Stratford Foundation.  The information and content on this website is provided “as is” with no warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties and merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement.

Content which appears on the Stratford Foundation Website has been compiled from a variety of sources and is subject to change without notice. Although the Stratford Foundation tries to ensure the integrity and the accuracy of website content, it makes no guarantees about correctness or accuracy. The Stratford Foundation makes no representation or warranty whatsoever regarding the completeness, quality, non-infringement, accessibility, or adequacy of the contents of the Stratford Foundation Website, or the suitability, functionality, or operation of this website, its contents, or its use with any other equipment or software. By using this Website, users assume the risk that the information contained on this website may be inaccurate, incomplete, or offensive. Additionally, the possibility exists that unauthorized additions, deletions, and/or alterations could be made by third parties to the Stratford Foundation Website materials. The Stratford Foundation is not responsible for such unauthorized alterations which may occur.

The Stratford Foundation cannot guarantee the privacy of any data while in transit to or from the Stratford Foundation Website. Users of wireless Internet access are at greater risk of personal information being revealed and the use of wireless technologies to access or submit personal information to the Stratford Foundation Website is discouraged.

Under no circumstances, including but not limited to, negligence, shall the Stratford Foundation be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive or consequential damages that may result from the use or inability to use the Stratford Foundation Website, including without limitation the use of, or reliance on, information available on the Stratford Foundation Website, interruptions, errors, defects, mistakes, omissions, deletions of files, delays in operation or transmission, non-delivery of information, disclosure of communications, or any other failure of performance. 

Notwithstanding the above, you acknowledge that Stratford Foundation Inc does not prescreen content, but that the Stratford Foundation and its designees shall have the right (but not the obligation) in their sole discretion to refuse or remove any content that is available via this web site. Without limiting the foregoing, the Stratford Foundation and its designees shall have the right to remove any content that violates the policies of the Stratford Foundation or is otherwise determined to be objectionable by the Stratford Foundation in its sole discretion.

Copyright
All textual, graphical and other content appearing on the Stratford Foundation Website are property of the Stratford Foundation Inc. Copyright © 2011 Stratford Foundation Inc

220 Reservoir Street, Suite 6, Needham, MA 02494-3133, USA. All Rights Reserved.

You may view, copy, print and use content contained on the Stratford Foundation website solely for your own personal use, provided that:

– The content available from this Website is used for informational and non-commercial purposes only.
– No text, graphics or other content available from this Web Site is modified in any way.
– No graphics available from this Web Site are used, copied or distributed separate from accompanying text.
– Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppels or otherwise any license or other grant of right to use any copyright, trademark or other intellectual property of the Stratford Foundation or any third party, except as expressly provided herein.

Disclaimer of Contract
All information provided on the Stratford Foundation Website is provided solely for informational purposes, and does not constitute a legal contract between the Stratford Foundation and any other person or entity, unless such a contract has been otherwise specified. 

Indemnity Release
Users of the Stratford Foundation Website release and waive any and all claims and/or liability against the Stratford Foundation arising from or in connection with the use of the Stratford Foundation website. User also agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Stratford Foundation and any of its employees from and against any and all claims or liability, including costs and attorneys fees, arising from, or in connection with, the use of the Stratford Foundation Website, or failure to abide by applicable law.

Governing Laws and Jurisdiction
These disclaimers and terms of use shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of Massachusetts, United States of America. Disputes arising hereunder shall be exclusively subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts of the United States of America and/or the state courts of Massachusetts, and jurisdiction therefore shall rest solely in the state of Massachusetts, United States of America.

Cookies
Cookies are text files stored on your computer by a website containing information about you to facilitate further communications with the website. Cookies are used to assist with the technical operation of the Stratford Foundation website. If the user chooses to disallow cookies, certain portions of the Stratford Foundation Website may become unavailable to the user.

External Links
The Stratford Foundation Inc is not responsible for website content, security, or protection of personal information on links found on the Stratford Foundation Website to outside agencies or entities.

Email
The Stratford Foundation Inc is not responsible for the privacy of any email messages. Users are advised that most email sent over the Internet is insecure and that, as a result, users should assume that email communications are not private.

Log Files
The Stratford Foundation website tracks generic network information to monitor trends in traffic and for security purposes. Information tracked includes but is not limited to:

– Your Internet protocol address.
– The kind of browser or computer you use.
– Number of links you click within the site.
– State or country from which you accessed the site.
– Date and time of your visit.
– Name of your internet service provider.
– Web page you linked to our site from.
– Pages you viewed on the site.

This information is generally tracked and monitored by most web sites, including the Stratford Foundation Website, and is not directly linked back to any user’s personal information.

Contacting Us
If you have questions regarding our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, its implementation, failure to adhere to this Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and/or our general practices, please contact us at [email protected] or send your comments to:

            Stratford Foundation, Inc.
            ATTN: Website Privacy Policy
            220 Reservoir Street, Suite 6
            Needham, MA 02494-3133

Logo Header Menu