School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 1.0 General Reading Processes

Topic D. Vocabulary

Indicator 2. Apply and refine a conceptual understanding of new words


To show proficiency of the skills stated in this indicator, a reader should be able to retain a sufficient knowledge of vocabulary that allows that student to develop a deeper understanding of individual words and to perceive the different relationships that exist among them. To begin the process, students should be able to sort words that they already know into conceptual categories. Conceptual refers to the main or most important idea of a given category. For example, placing items in categories that denote what is small in opposition to what is large is working with two conceptual categories. As students increase their vocabulary skills, the conceptual categories become more complex as does the degree of the vocabulary words. Layers of word meaning, multiple meanings of words, and their syntax should add to the difficulty of the categorization.

Once words have been placed in categories, students should be able to justify their categorization of those words by addressing the commonalities of them. Simply, students should define the broad, collective idea that links the words within a category but should also be able to note the fine differences among those same words. Given new words, students should recognize the commonalities or differences they have in relationship to those words already categorized. In that way, prior knowledge of the relationship of words is used to develop understanding of new words.

Then students should demonstrate their knowledge of categorized words in speech, reading, and writing that shows an understanding of the likenesses and differences among words and how these words generate subtle shades of meaning.