Teach Vocabulary In Chunks  


Recently while teaching Grade 5 Lesson 1 I was reminded of the importance of teaching vocabulary in word groups. There are words that usually or always have a certain order; in this case, blue shoes. Lesson 5-5-1 teaches colors and clothing names; the vocabulary can be taught separately, but there is advantage in teaching the words together. As a rule, when possible, try to put a few words together when doing Listen and Repeat (and Point) activities. Or,  for such activities as Pair Karuta, Ohajiki game, Eraser/Keyword game, use whole sentences or questions.

A simple rule to remember is: Don't teach vocabulary as single words. And if you must, try to teach single words in word groups, or word families.

Many adult students of English tell me they know a lot of English words, but are confused about putting them together to make a sentence or question. Drilling and practicing with words in chunks, or groups of words that are in a common order, should help familiarize students with this common order.

There is a corollary here for making chants, as well. When making a chant, grouping words together in ways that help students become familiar with common patterns will help them, too. An easy example that comes to mind is What color/What color/What color do you like? Students so often ask the question
What do you like color? 
that extra drilling and practice, both listening and speaking, of the correct word order can only help.

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