When we think of high-quality vocabulary instruction we usually think of actively engaging our students in using words and thinking about word meanings. We establish connections with words and revisit these words often to give students multiple opportunities to fully understand their meanings. We teach children a variety of strategies to choose from to help them learn, understand, and use new and interesting words.
As teachers, we want our students to use these strategies independently so they become successful, lifelong readers. One strategy that provides a quick and easy way for children to gain word meaning is asking someone to define the word. When readers come to an unfamiliar word, they usually try to figure it out first by quickly going through the variety of strategies they already know. If these strategies don't work, it is important to teach them that it is okay to ask someone to define the word for them.