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Lesson Plan

Choosing, Chatting, and Collecting: Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kendra Wagner

Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Kathleen Benson Quinn

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



The vocabulary self-collection strategy involves having students choose the words they want to learn, chat about their rationale for selecting words, and agree upon words for a classroom collection. This strategy is an effective approach to help students understand the meanings of new words, use them in conversations and writing, and make personal connections with words while reading. The strategy also encourages students to use the words for authentic tasks and on a regular basis in their writing. In this lesson, an online Shakespeare text is used as an example; however, the strategy can be applied to any content area reading.

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Ruddell, M.R., & Shearer, B.A. (2002). "Extraordinary," "tremendous," "exhilarating," "magnificent": Middle school at-risk students become avid word learners with the vocabulary self-collection strategy (VSS). Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 45, 352363.

  • Self-selection of vocabulary enhances students' motivation and achievement in learning new words.

  • Students' rationale for selecting certain words adds to their understanding of the process for learning them.

  • Students can build their vocabulary knowledge through active participation in "word discussions" and activities related to word learning.

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