Episode 6: Instructional Principles for Word Learning

Our student’s attention must be drawn to what is unknown about their word knowledge just as much as to what is known about their word knowledge. Many times, students over estimate their word knowledge and therefore, they will unintentionally inflate their self-appraisals. Hence, it is important for teachers to understand the principles of word learning, so that they can help their students identify unknown words for explicit vocabulary instruction. Rasinski (2008) lists Blachowicz and Fisher’s instructional principles for word learning as the following:

  1. students should engender an “understanding of words and ways to learn them” through active engagement;
  2. “personalize” word learning;
  3. be “immersed” in words;
  4. experience “repeated exposures” by accessing words through “multiple sources of information”.

In this podcast episode, you will hear from a student as she is surveying the text. She will explain which words she knows, and which words she does not know. This is an important part of the beginning of building word conscious awareness; capitalizing on Blachowicz’s and Fisher’s first principle of engendering an “understanding of words and ways to learn them” through active engagement.


Lovett, M. C. (2008, January 30). ELI Annual Video: Teaching Metacognition. Retrieved February 28, 2008, from EDUCAUSE Web Site: http://connect.educause.edu/blog/gbayne/eliannualvideoteachingmet/46047

Lovett, 2008. Teaching Metacognition: Presentation to the Educause Learning Initiative Annual Meeting, 29 January 2008.

Rasinski, T. V. (2008). Greek & Latin Roots: Keys to Building Vocabulary. Shell Education.

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