Building Vocabulary using Technology

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I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with a small group of teachers preparing for a certification exam. As we worked through the information we came across a word that was not so familiar to some of us. I watched these ladies attack the unknown word with the same skills that our children with dyslexia learn in their classrooms and dyslexia programs. Wow! I do think learning to read is magic! So this brings me to my question, “Why is learning vocabulary so important?” I answer, “To understand what we read or what we hear, right?” I recently read an article from Reading Rockets and would like to share a few strategies with you. The article refers to them as eVoc strategies. (Hmmm, clever.)

The first strategy focuses on explicit teaching of vocabulary to help readers become independent word learners. The technology source is Wordle, which is a free web application that allows the teacher to create a word cloud based on the frequency of words in a given text. The word cloud can be used to analyze relationships of words as well as a prompt for discussions before and after reading the text. The site provides examples of how teachers have used the word cloud for instruction. I encourage you to check out the site and remember it is free!

The sencond strategy I would like to mention focuses on students taking a digital vocabulary field trip using another free online program called TrackStar. You will find a tutorial to get started as well as field trips for viewing. For more information I invite you to read the article, 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary at

Let us hear back from you and your students!


Virginia Gonzalez

Virginia Gonzalez

Virginia Gonzalez, State Dyslexia Consultant is housed at Region10 ESC. Virginia has been an educator in Texas for 22 years, and worked as an educational diagnostician, special education teacher and dyslexia therapist. Virginia's years of teaching experience also include working with English Language Learners (ELL). "Mi casa es su casa."

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