Marzano’s 6-Steps of Vocabulary Instruction, Step 1

Marzano's 6-steps of vocabulary instruction #1

Check out this post to begin learning about the first step in Dr. Marzano’s six steps for effective vocabulary instruction, and be sure to visit back to discover the other five! Step one is to provide clear examples and definitions of the terms.

I used to think having my students look up new vocabulary terms in the dictionary (or glossary of their textbooks) was a good way to learn new vocabulary. I really thought they’d learn all sorts of other words while looking up our words. I even had them write the definitions in their own words.

Then, I noticed a problem. When (if) my students found the correct words, they would look at all the possible definitions and either pick the first one or the shortest one whether it was the definition they needed or not. When I’d want them to know a pyramid was an ancient building, they’d record only that it was a geometric shape.

So, how did I fix this?

I listened to Dr. Marzano, and his six-steps to vocabulary instruction. Today I’m writing about step 1 – providing examples or descriptions of the terms.

Now, when I introduce new vocabulary, I also provide easy to understand definitions in student-friendly words and show them examples. In the example above, when we study ancient Egypt, I provide them with the word (pyramid), a definition (a huge ceremonial building made of stone), and show pictures of several of them.

What’s happening in my students’ brains when I do this is they are building connections between the word, its definition and images. These connections deepen with practice over time and help your students visualize the word when they encounter it in texts later.

If you’re looking for somewhere to get started with effective vocabulary instruction, CLICK HERE to check out the vocabulary resources I have available in my store! Or, CLICK HERE for more blogposts about Marzano strategies.

Marzano's 6-steps of vocabulary instruction #1