Regardless of grade level or content speciality, all teachers have a common focus to build students’ literacy, especially, in regards to expanding students’ vocabulary.

Road to Teaching is launching an effort to collect vocabulary instructional strategies, tips, and advice from teachers across the world, organizing them under the eight characteristics (derived from Marzano’s “Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement“) of effective vocabulary instruction.  Aspiring and students teachers then can review the submitted strategies and apply them to their own classrooms.

How do you teach vocabulary?  Please post your instructional strategy as a comment or email it to

Marzano’s characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction:

  1. Effective vocabulary instruction does not rely on definitions.
  2. Students represent their knowledge of words linguistic and non-linguistic ways.
  3. Effective vocabulary instruction involves the gradual shaping of word meanings through multiple exposures.
  4. Teaching word parts enhances students’ understanding of terms.
  5. Different types of words require different types of instruction.
  6. Students should discuss the terms they are learning.
  7. Students should play with words.
  8. Instruction should focus on terms that have a high probability of enhancing academic success.

Please check back to view updated posts on our Improving Student Learning through Effective Vocabulary Instruction page.