In attempts to encourage students to widen their vocabulary, teachers should include such engagement in their literature classroom, not just English composition.

Along with allowing students to engage with a text on a literary level, why not ask them to engage in a more linguistic level as well?

  • As students begin to read an assigned text for a literature class, ask them to highlight, circle, underline, or keep a running list in a notebook of the words that they are unfamiliar with.
    • Is the word used more than once in the novel? Have students compare the ways in which the word is used and in what context in relation to the plot/events/descriptions/characters/etc.
  • Encourage them to use context clues from the text itself to help them form a definition of the word.
  • Next, ask that they look the word up in the dictionary to compare their own definition with the formal definition.
    • How did the author use the word in their work?

Not only will the activity enhance their vocabulary, but it will also allow the students to engage with the text on a more critical and engaging level.

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