Research on vocabulary instruction concludes that most vocabulary is learned indirectly. This is an often underemphasized area in the classroom as most of our focus is on direct vocabulary instruction.
Direct vocabulary instruction is the method in which children aquire vocabulary during formal instruction. This learning takes place through direct and explicit instruction during whole or small group. We do an excellent job with direct vocabulary instruction through our core reading program, but we are limited to the number of words that children can be explicitly taught. The research does state that some vocabulary must be learned in this manner.
When you hear the term indirect vocabulary learning, think about the vocabulary that children hear when they are being read to. Most importantly think about the vocabulary that children are exposed to when reading “Just Right” books on their own. Indirect vocabulary is also the vocabulary that children gain through converstations with adults.
We as educators need to think about ways to increase the volume of reading so that our students can achieve optimal results from both direct and indirect vocabulary aquisition. What are some methods that you are using to increase the volume of reading in your elementary classroom?