Effective Vocabulary Instruction that Increases Reading Comprehension
Semantic gradients is a group of related words placed on a continuum that allows students to make connections between known words and new vocabulary. Reading Rockets has fun and engaging activities that help students deepen their understanding of related words. Research states that vocabulary instruction is an essential skill that students need to improve reading performance. In fact, there is strong evidence to support providing vocabulary instruction not only to improve students’ reading comprehension and writing quality, but also their listening vocabulary and their speaking vocabulary (Joshi, 2006).
A fun and engaging activity called Vocabulary Paint Chips can be used to expand your student’s vocabulary of known words. The strategy involves using large paint strips or chips from the hardware store (which are FREE). Teachers write a vocabulary word on one color of the strip, then write different “versions” of the word on the other colors, and finally, put synonyms on one of the colors. For example, one paint chip may include crawl, stroll, walk, dart, run and sprint. Remember to reward your student’s effort for using new words! Be specific with your praise (“I love the way you used our new word “stroll” in your story today.”) Another possibility is to use a token economy system for each time a student uses one of the paint chip words in their writing, they can add a sticker to a chart. When the sticker chart is filled then the student can exchange it for a bigger reward!
Joshi, R. M. (2006). Vocabulary: A critical component of comprehension. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 21(3), 209-219.
Autism Statewide Network
TTAC members across the state collaborate quarterly to provide instructional resources as well as training and technical assistance for teachers of students with autism. Members also participate on the Virginia Autism Council to improve services for individuals with autism from birth to adulthood, and coordinate with staff members of the Virginia Autism Center for Excellence (ACE). For example, regional Communities of Practice in Autism (CoLAs) have been established as a joint effort with ACE and T-TACs, and staff members have participated in the state grant from the National Professional Development Center for Autism to offer training and technical assistance in evidence based practices for students with autism. Our mission statement: Through collaboration, statewide T/TACs will build capacity through professional development, instructional resources, and library materials to professionals, families, divisions, and agencies to improve outcomes for young children and youth with autism spectrum disorders.
VCU Autism Center for Excellence
Take advantage of seminars, courses and webinars available at the VCU Autism Center for Excellence (ACE). All of the training activities are based on the Skill Competencies for Professionals and Paraprofessionals in Virginia Supporting Individuals with Autism Across the Lifespan. (Download the Skill Competencies) ACE bases the trainings on up-to-date evidence-based research and practices and sources such as the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder and the National Autism Center. These activities are free to all Virginia residents. Visit the VCU Autism Center for Excellence.
An online presentation to demonstrate compartmentalization and structure in a self- contained classroom for students with autism.
Alternative Pencils give students access to the alphabet and can help students with significant and/or intellectual disabilities engage in emergent literacy activities. This module demonstrates five different types of alternative pencils.
The purpose of collecting data is to provide objective evidence of a program’s effectiveness and to guide instructional decisions. Educators can ensure that they provide meaningful instruction by collecting useful data on students’ progress and then use the data to make instructional decisions. In other words, with meaningful data, educators can adjust their instruction in response to students’ performance.