chapter  9
12 Pages

Exposure to Rich Language

We have suggested the vocabulary pyramid as a way of thinking about the big picture in vocabulary instruction. One of the main points of the pyramid is that there is an inverse relationship between intensity of instruction and the number of words that can be covered. At the top of the pyramid is the thorough type of instruction we discussed in chapters 5 and 6-instruction aimed at bringing students to a point of ownership; that is, being able to use the words that are taught in class in their own writing and speaking as well as reading. Relatively few words can be covered with this level of intensity. In chapter 8, we talked about the next level of the pyramid-informal talk about words that should permeate the schoolday and cover a much larger number of words. However, even this level does not cover as many words as students need to learn. Besides, for those words that are explained infor­ mally during the schoolday, students still need opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of their meanings and how they are used.