Pre-teach Vocabulary


To increase students’ comprehension of texts and help mitigate intimidation, boredom, and loss of interest by front-loading challenging vocabulary.


Students will be able access and comprehend challenging texts through their vocabulary understanding.

Action Steps

  • Introduce words and concepts in context of things that are familiar to students.
  • Use analogies and metaphors; encourage students to create a symbol or drawing for challenging words.
  • Give time for discussion of the words.
  • Only use dictionaries after the initial steps have been used. Avoid having students start with looking up definitions.

Differentiate: Root Words:

  • Assign students a list of common prefixes/suffixes and Latin roots.
  • Teach them to break down words using those prefixes/suffixes for words they already know. For example: Teach that circa is the root for around and it comes from circus for circle.
  • Then have them think of words they can think of with this root: circumstance, circum-navicate, circumference, circle, circuit, etc. Show them this is a common way to try to understand new words they don’t know.
  • Explain that many words come from Latin and therefore understanding Portugeuse or Spanish can be a huge asset and they should use it, and that, even if not a root, they should run it through their brains in another language if they can’t recognize the word in English (e.g. edifice vs edificio).



Are these strategies helpful?