Why Teaching Words in Isolation Fails

The only way to successfully gain increase in one’s vocabulary is to read. Reading is the horse that pulls the vocabulary cart, period.

This test is simply to demonstrate to teachers (all of us, perhaps) what literacy students may experience when we, as teachers, try to help them with vocabulary outside of reading.

New Vocabulary Guessed Definition

Abies: _______________________________________________________________

Barton: _______________________________________________

Calced: ______________________________________________

Deloul: _____________________________________________________________

Enfiled: _____________________________________________________________

Farer: _______________________________________________________________

Gault: _______________________________________________________________

Hodden: _______________________________________________

Incarn: ________________________________________________

Jabble: ______________________________________________________________

Kreng: ______________________________________________________________

Lill: _______________________________________________________________

Mampus: ______________________________________________

.

Nefast: _____________________________________________________________

Obrok: ________________________________________________

Pavid: _______________________________________________________________

Queme: _______________________________________________

Reboise: _____________________________________________________________

Sarcel: ________________________________________________

Tantivy: ______________________________________________________________

Upscuddle: __________________________________________________________

Vouge:: _______________________________________________

Wamus: ______________________________________________________________

Xancus: ____________________________________________________________

Yare: _______________________________________________________________

Zanda: _______________________________________________________________

All of the above words are from the Webster’s 3rd International Dictionary Unabridged

This test is simply to demonstrate to teachers (all of us, perhaps) what literacy students may experience when we, as teachers, try to help them learn new vocabulary out of context.

New Vocabulary Guessed Definition

Match up the vocabulary on the left with the sentences on the right

Abies: She _______ the thread in the needle in

order to sew the hole in the sock.

Barton: The band-aide and ointment helped the

wound to_________.

Calced: They took all of the _________ from the

sheep shearer and sent if off to be dyed

to be made into sweaters and mittens

and hats.

Deloul: When Little Red Riding hood walked

through the _________ on the long dark

path to her grandmother’s house it was

as if all of the trees were watching and

listening to her foot steps.

Enfiled: The workmen all wore a warm _______

when they worked outdoors in order to

keep from getting chilled.

Farer: The farmer had to cut a long _______in

the ground so that the water from the

river could get to his field of crops.

Gault: Whenever the twins thought that one got

something the other didn’t, they would

____________with each other for hours.

Hodden: . When he was young, the youth hoped

that it would be his ________ to travel

the world.

Incarn: There were several buzzards feasting on

the _________on the side of the busy

highway.

Jabble: The ______between the farm house and

the barn was filled with chickens

scratching the ground for stray seed.

Kreng: The ________ could be ridden across the

desert for days without needing water to

drink.

Lill: The musician put her finger over the

________ on the flute to change the

tone.

Mampus: When the entire herd of horses took off all

at once at a mad __________, the cloud

of dust rose high up into the air.

Nefast: He discovered that he did not need snow

shoes to walk on the ________ without

sinking in.

Obrok: The ________we planted in the front yard

was growing just like a fir or balsam.

Pavid: When the gun went off, the runners ran

very _________ down the track to the

finish line.

Queme: The _________ old witch cast a nasty

spell on the young princess.

Reboise: The ________had been to many different

countries on his long journey.

Sarcel: He used the long handled ________ with

the two tines to pick up the large steak off

of the grill to turn it.

Tantivy: A very large _________ of people came to

the political demonstration.

Upscuddle: The sunshine on that calm, serene, late

afternoon day in late May made that day

perfectly _________.

Vouge: The _________ on the surface of the river

water was caused by the Pirranha in their

feeding frenzy.

Wamus: Although she did like horror movies, she

was so ________ that any unusual noise

would make her jump.

Xancus: There were three _________ under the big

top at the Circus.

Yare: If you hold the __________ up to your ear,

they say you can hear the sea.

Zanda: He was _________, though the ones he had

on his feet did not fit him well.

The only way to successfully gain increase in one’s vocabulary is to read. Reading is the horse that pulls the vocabulary cart, period.

Abies: The abies we planted in the front yard was growing just like a fir or balsam.

Barton: The barton between the farm house and the barn was filled with chickens scratching the ground for stray seed.

Calced: He was calced, though the ones he had on his feet did not fit him well.

Deloul: The deloul could be ridden across the desert for days without needing water to drink.

Enfiled: She enfiled the thread in the needle in order to sew the hole in the sock.

Farer: The farer had been to many different countries on his long journey.

Gault: He discovered that he did not need snow shoes to walk on the gault without sinking in.

Hodden: They took all of the hodden from the sheep shearer and sent if off to be dyed to be made into sweaters and mittens and hats.

Incarn: The bandaid and ointment helped the wound to incarn.

Jabble: The jabble on the surface of the river water was caused by the Pirranha in their feeding frenzy.

Kreng: There were several buzzards feasting on the kreng on the side of the busy highway.

Lill: The musician put her finger over the lill on the flute to change the tone.

Mampus: A very large mampus of people came to the political demonstration.

Nefast: The nefast old witch cast a nasty spell on the young princess.

Obrok—When he was young, the youth hoped that it would be his obrok to travel the world.

Pavid: Although she did like horror movies, she was so pavid that any unusual noise would make her jump.

Queme: The sunshine on that calm, serene, late afternoon day in late May made that day perfectly queme.

Reboise: When Little Red Riding hood walked through the reboise on the long dark path to her grandmother’s house it was as if all of the trees were watching and listening to her foot steps.

Sarcel: There were three sarcels under the big top at the Circus.

Tantivy: When the entire herd of horses took off all at once at a mad tantivy, the cloud of dust rose high up into the air.

Upscuddle: Whenever the twins thought that one got something the other didn’t, they would upscuddle with each other for hours.

Vouge: He used the long handled vouge with the two tines to pick up the large steak off of the grill to turn it.

Wamus: The workmen all wore a warm wamus when they worked outdoors in order to keep from getting chilled .

Xancus: If you hold the xancus up to your ear, they say you can hear the sea.

Yare: When the gun went off, the runners ran very yare down the track to the finish line.

Zanda: the farmer had to cut a long zanda in the ground so that the water from the river could get to his field of crops.