Explicit Vocabulary Instruction: Directly Teaching Specific Words

Course Progress

Explicit Vocabulary Instruction: Direct Teaching of Target Words

The desired outcome of skilled reading is understanding and learning from text. Explicit vocabulary instruction is a member of a set of evidence-based teaching practices shown to improve reading comprehension in adolescent learners. This type of instruction teaches new vocabulary with many opportunities for student practice and review. Through explicit instruction on target vocabulary, students understand important and useful words that facilitate their comprehension of grade level text (est. completion time: 4 hours).

  • Explicit Vocabulary Instruction: Directly Teaching New Words
    • Navigation and Learning Objectives
    • Pre-Assessment
    • Vocabulary is at the Center of Learning
    • Explicit Vocabulary Instruction
    • Direct Vocabulary Learning
    • Developing a Plan for Teaching New Words
    • Using a Vocabulary Instructional Routine
    • Step 1: Introduce the Word
    • Step 2: Introduce the Meaning of the Word
    • Step 3: Illustrating the Word with Examples and Non-Examples 
    • Step 4: Check for Understanding
    • Engaging Actively with the Word
    • Summing it Up
    • Post-Assessment
How to use this Module


Completion of The Simple View of Reading comprehensive learning module, or sufficient background knowledge of the Simple View of Reading.

Module Description

This module is the first part of a two-part series on Explicit Vocabulary Instruction. Part 1 presents explicit vocabulary instruction as a method to improve adolescent literacy. You will learn how to directly and explicitly teach target vocabulary words using step-by-step instructional routines, activities, and sequences that are easily implemented in the classroom. Part 2 will describe how to teach students word learning strategies that can be applied independently in the classroom. Part 2 will describe how to teach students word learning strategies that can be applied independently during reading. 

In this module, the following topics are discussed in text, linked resources, and embedded audio and videos:

  • Vocabulary and its impact on academic success
  • Direct teaching of specific words
  • Selecting words to teacher
  • Conveying a word’s meaning
  • Engaging actively with words
  • Repeated practice
  • Educator and expert perspectives on vocabulary instruction
The content of this module is designed to assist all educators, including English language arts and content-area teachers, to help students understand what they are reading, enhance their reading efficacy, and increase their enjoyment of reading. 

Helpful Resources Related to this Module:

Module Resources

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Welcome & Navigation

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Ohio Literacy Library

In-depth information about the purpose and key elements of the Ohio Literacy Library.

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