Today’s ELA classroom is no longer a one-book-fits-all setting. Teachers are embracing a wide range of abilities and offering students choices in reading material. That means one teacher often supports multiple reading levels and multiple texts for multiple classes, all at once. In a nutshell, differentiation can be daunting.
Delivering truly differentiated instruction to your students can be challenging, especially given all the other things educators are supposed to be doing. Vocabulary.com makes it easy for you to provide the multiple levels of support that your young readers need to be successful. Here’s how:
Each student has a unique set of word knowledge. The best way to teach vocabulary is to focus your students’ time and energy on the words they don’t know yet but are ready to learn. Vocabulary.com does just that. Our adaptive platform means that every student is working to close their individual word gap. No wasted time teaching anyone words that are way beyond their reach or that they already know.
Sometimes you need to teach your whole class a set of words that fit your curriculum, such as poetry terms. Find a list and assign practice to all of your students. While each student will work on all the words you’ve assigned, Vocabulary.com still differentiates by choosing from the many questions we’ve developed for each word. If we think a student is likely to struggle with that word, we’ll start with questions that provide more scaffolding. This way, you can teach to the whole class without sacrificing differentiation.
As students complete assignments, any words they struggle with will be added to their Personal Learning Program. That way, we’ll follow up on those trouble words over time, and work with each student at their own pace until they achieve mastery.
Experiences where students get to read books that interest them and talk with each other about their ideas are often the experiences that make lifelong readers.
Providing choices can be so enriching for students, but let’s face it — so overwhelming for teachers.
So the next time you’re brave enough to teach multiple books at the same time, rather than scouring hundreds of pages guessing which words to teach, start by visiting our List Library. Just search, select, and assign one of our ready-made lists. Even better, get your students to build their own lists — it’s the perfect small group activity to boost comprehension and spark great discussions.
Either way, you’ll always be able to see your students’ learning on your Teacher Dashboard. See which words they’re having trouble with, and spend a little extra time on those words in class. You can also rest assured that follow-up is happening even after you’ve moved on, because Vocabulary.com continues to work with each student on the words they need extra help with.
When students choose what they’re reading, it really puts them in charge of their own learning. However, self-selected texts can present a challenge for the ELA teacher in terms of holding students accountable for the work and supporting comprehension. Vocabulary.com is a great way to ensure that students are equipped to unpack the meaning in the text, and to extend their independent reading with meaningful work.
Have your students search the List Library for vocabulary lists on their books. Or have students create their own lists, collecting words as they encounter them. Either way, they can practice on their own, and you can monitor their progress on your Teacher Dashboard. Your students will get the support they need for better comprehension, and you’ll be able to see their learning.