Six Steps to Building Academic Vocabulary

There are six steps in the process of building academic vocabulary.

Steps for Teachers

teacher chalk board.jpg

1. Give description, explanation or example of new terms

Example Term: TornadoWhat is the description of a tornado?Strong winds in a funnel shape that appears to move in circles.


2. Ask student to give a description, explanation or

example of new term in their own words

Example Response: Rain and wind that takes objects from their location and moves them.


3. Have students draw a picture,

symbol or locate a graphic to represent new term
Student's Drawing

Student's idea of tornado.

Steps for Student


1. Participate in activities to provide more knowledge of words in vocabulary notebook

Sample Activity: Make a tornado.



2. Discuss terms with other students'

Sample Activity: Prepare a wiki space for groups of four to discuss terms with other students.
Have each student research a different link at and discuss the terminology at the site.


3. Participate in games to provide reinforcement of new term.

Sample Games for teachers to customize.

Sandra Clancy

June 29, 2012