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Lesson Plan

Internalization of Vocabulary Through the Use of a Word Map

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time One or two 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Betsy Hughes

Churchville, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson provides students with a concrete way to learn vocabulary. The instruction is interactive, provides practice with words, and develops both definitional and contextual knowledge through two agents—purposeful sequencing of steps and collaboration with peers. This method is best used with students who require a concrete, visual approach to learning and students who habitually select the first dictionary entry or the meaning they are already familiar with. This method can also be used as one of a variety of approaches from which students can choose. Vocabulary words for the lesson can be predetermined or student-selected.

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Word map template: Students will use this helpful handout to create their own word map for a preselected vocabulary word.

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Rosenbaum, C. (2001). A word map for middle school: A tool for effective vocabulary instruction. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45, 44–49.

  • Recent research has found that knowledge of vocabulary is the single most important factor in reading comprehension. (LaFlamme, 1997, p. 372)

  • Students who use background knowledge, context clues, morphology, and dictionaries learn words more effectively.

  • Vocabulary instruction must be interactive, especially for middle school children.

  • A word map is a sequentially structured visual model that meets all necessary requirements of existing models and adds an additional component—student interaction.


LaFlamme, J.G. (1997). The effect of the Multiple Exposure Vocabulary Method and the Target Reading/Writing Strategy of test scores. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 40, 372–381.

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