When prioritizing words for vocabulary instruction, think along these lines:
- What phrase or 1-2 words are absolutely must-have-mastered words in order for students to comprehend the passage or text? Teach those before you read.
- What 6-8 words are important to the comprehension of the text during the 1st read? Teach these as you encounter them during the 1st read. Then check for understanding at the end.
- What 6-8 words are important to the comprehension of the text during the 2nd read? Teach these as you encounter them on the 2nd read. Then check for understanding at the end.
- You will know that students have mastered the words when they are able to use multiple words in meaningful original sentences, so go beyond the definitional memorization stage
These steps will help to organize and prioritize the words (whether they are the “bolded” words in the textbook or not) and really keep vocabulary instruction in its proper place: how words enhance comprehension.