Thanks to Nicole Howard, I learned about a pretty ambitious review of vocabulary-teaching studies titled Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth Grade and Beyond.
In one way, I’m not sure exactly how helpful it will be to teachers, since the studies it reviews don’t appear to narrow down effective teaching strategies very much. On the other hand, though, its conclusion that doing lots of different kinds seems to be best could also be used by many of us to support what we’re already doing.
It does come down firmly on the side of teaching context clues, and specifically mentions using clozes (which is one of my favorite instructional strategies (see The Best Tools For Creating Clozes (Gap-Fills) ). It also supports explicit instruction of words that students will encounter in a specific text, though it doesn’t seem to specify if it’s better to pre-teach them or teach them as they come-up (I do both).
I also noted that it highlighted the effectiveness of teaching up to twelve new academic words each week to English Language Learners, which is what I do but which is in conflict with Robert Marzano’s recommendation of a substantially smaller number.
I’d say it’s worth a look. I also was impressed with its ample bibliography, which includes easy-to-access links.
I’m adding this post to The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary.
Change the word “specific” in the third paragraph to “specify.”