Meet New Vocabulary

Word Work
Grade Level


Meet New Vocabulary uses a graphic organizer to help students acquire new vocabulary while reading. This strategy is most effective when teaching challenging, domain-specific words (Tier Three).


During or after reading


This strategy makes students responsible for their learning and provides intrinsic motivation for learning new words in a meaningful, independent context.


  1. Select a short passage from the central text.
  2. Choose your vocabulary words.
  3. Project a blank Meet New Vocabulary graphic organizer.
  4. Read aloud from the central text and stop at a selected Tier Two or Tier Three vocabulary word
  5. Model using the graphic organizer by:
    • Writing the word
    • Determining the meaning of the word using a range of strategies including context clues, affixes and roots, and reference materials
    • Drawing a symbol to represent the word
    • Writing a sentence using the word
    • Conferring with students about the definition
    • Reaching a consensus on definition
    • Analyzing how the word changes or shapes the meaning or tone of the text
    • Writing the word in a sentence correctly
  6. Instruct students to practice the strategy by reading with a partner, stopping at a selected Tier Two or Tier Three vocabulary word and completing the graphic organizer together. Scaffold students by guiding this practice.
  7. Provide time for students to practice the strategy independently or in small groups.

English language learners

Discussing definitions as a class meets the needs of English language learners by asking them to articulate their thoughts and listen carefully to others.

Connection to anti-bias education

Meet New Vocabulary reinforces the abilities to self-monitor, discuss, listen, appreciate and understand that people learn vocabulary differently. This strategy also fosters collaboration between learners.

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Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

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