Designing RTI-Based Vocabulary Interventions

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Smart Speech Therapy LLC is celebrating #BHSM2015  ASHA Better Hearing and Speech Month and participating in a RtI Blog Hop organized by Speech Language Literacy Lab. Below you will find my recommendations for designing effective vocabulary interventions for struggling students.

This past academic year  I have been delivering vocabulary intervention once a week for an hour in my setting to 5 different classrooms of low achieving students.   This allowed me to  research quite a bit regarding the principles of vocabulary teaching as well as  gave me an opportunity to adapt and design my own vocabulary intervention materials.

Vocabulary is of course one of the integral components of reading comprehension  along with phonological awareness, phonics, and reading fluency. Knowledge of vocabulary is especially important for navigation of informational texts.

Who can benefit from explicit vocabulary instruction?

The answer is simple: any child with decreased vocabulary skills!  This may include but not be limited to:

  • Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Children with Limited English Proficiency
  • Children  with language impairments and learning disabilities

How can we design effective vocabulary interventions?

According to Judy Montgomery “You can never select the wrong words to teach.” Beck et al (2002)  recommends teaching Tier II words, as they would make the most significant impact on a child’s spoken and written expressive capabilities, and are useful across a variety of settings.

 Tips on creating intervention materials:

  • Make vocabulary  words thematic and center them  around current events
    •  Select a topic students are learning about in the classroom or center it around a seasonal event/holiday
  • Select no more than 10 words per packet and work on the packet for a period of several weeks to engage in frequent mass practice
  • Attempt to select vocabulary words used across several domains, which are still applicable to the student’s academic experience

 Packet Layout : 

 1.  Embed the selected vocabulary words in short thematic text

2.  Create a definitions page with usage tips to assist students with comprehension of vocabulary definitions

3. Have  the students practice  using these vocabulary words  in various activities  such as fill-in the blank, matching,  sentence creation, etc.

Now for the fun part,  in honor of #BHSM I am making my thematic packet on the “Water Cycle” FREE for a limited time.

water_cycle_diagram

This thematic packet, which can be used all year round, was created to target listening and reading comprehension of older students diagnosed with language impairments and learning disabilities.

The packet contains the following items:

  1. 4 Paragraph Reading Comprehension Passage about the Hyrologic (Water) Cycle
  2. 7  Open ended comprehension questions
  3. 12 Response to Intervention (RTI) Tier 2 vocabulary words in story context
  4. 10 Synonyms and antonyms matching words
  5. 15 Fill-in the blank words to complete sentences
  6.  Open ended sentence formulation utilizing 10 story vocabulary words

You can grab it HERE FREE beginning from May 18th until May 31. Happy Speeching!

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