Key Vocabulary Prediction

Students predict the meanings of vocabulary words before reading and confirm the accuracy of their predictions during and after reading. Students identify context clues from the text and revise their definitions accordingly. The teacher selects vocabulary and phrases that will support understanding the reading of the text, learn definitions and connecting schema (background knowledge). It can be used with text, a video and song lyrics before listening to a musical selection.

When to Use
It is a priming activity before reading a text. It can also be used during the process as well as for retaining for understanding after reading the text.

The Purpose
Academic vocabulary prediction combines several essential skills: analyzing word parts (morphemes), using context clues and schema for background knowledge. This builds word-consciousness, reading comprehension and the skill to independently develop understanding of text. And it is fun to predict.

The Sequence of Using

  • Choose your vocabulary words for the students.
  • Before reading, have students predict meaning from word roots, prefixes, suffixes, or through recognition of cognates and possible word relatives. Have them discuss their predictions (Think-Pair-Share), then write their predictions succinctly.
  • While reading, students revise their predictions and make note of the context clues that helped, and how they helped each other.
  • After reading, have students look up the actual definitions or provide definitions.
  • Have students reflect on their process which includes considering their original predictions and the usefulness of context clues.
  • To help students master these word-learning habits, have them complete this process initially daily for a week, and routinely through the year.

English Language Learners and Lower Grades
Offer English language learners the option to include visual connections. Pair students to use images, their first language and English; this allows English language learners to practice verbalizing words and ideas, and all students to learn words in different languages.

Connection to Equity Consciousness
Analyzing the context and structure of words develops critical awareness that is essential for equity.  



sacred objects
America’s story
advanced technology
Post the words to the left
on a slide deck (virtual or in
the classroom) for all students
to see together.

This Land
Excerpt from An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People
‘Under the crust of that part of the earth called the United States of America are buried the bones, villages, fields, and sacred objects of the first people of that land—the people who are often called American Indians or Native Americans. Their descendants, also called Indigenous peoples, carry memories and stories of how the United States came to be the nation we know today. It is important to learn and know this history, but many people today lack that knowledge and understanding because of the way America’s story has been taught.

Like most people, Americans want to think well of themselves, their ancestors, their history, and what they and their leaders do. As advanced technology makes the experiences of Indigenous peoples around the world more readily available, it is necessary that Americans learn to think more completely and more critically about their own history, because it can help them be better citizens of the world. Part of that critical thinking involves recognition that “America” is a name given to two land masses by European colonizers. indigenous peoples had, and have, words for the land in their own languages.’

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People
By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortizexcerpt – This Land, published 2019