Making Meaning: Vocabulary Research

Research confirms that the vocabulary children learn in casual conversation with friends and family or from watching television and DVDs is incidental and not enough to communicate effectively and achieve academically. The Making Meaning Vocabulary program offers direct instruction in specific words and word-learning strategies that help students develop an authentic, personal enthusiasm about language and a rich and varied vocabulary that enhances their reading and writing. Vocabulary lessons were developed with classroom teachers who piloted the lessons and gave regular and extensive feedback to ensure that the program addresses the needs of all students and is easy to implement.

Research-based Practices

The Vocabulary program uses proven instructional practices that help students build their vocabularies by:

  • Providing explicit instruction in a set of carefully chosen, high-utility words
  • Beginning instruction by introducing a word in context
  • Providing a student-friendly definition of the word with examples
  • Inviting students to engage actively with the word in meaningful ways
  • Having students provide the word with compelling, interactive activities
  • Providing multiple exposures to the word over an extended period of time
  • Teaching strategies that students can use to learn words independently