I love the concept of incidental word learning; I think that understanding it is a huge step to how we as teachers can form realistic expectations for our students and use it in a classroom. Encouraging students to read on their own time and at their own levels by setting time aside in school is also so beneficial in their development of language as well as a classroom community. When my 5th graders Drop Everything And Read, for example, I take note of who is reading what, and then ask them about it later so that they can get excited about what they are reading and practice comprehension simultaneously.Specifically, my study student’s thirst for stories and knowledge enable him to have the motivation to continue reading. I see it daily as he talks unabashedly about his books and what he is learning, and I can see it play out in the classroom because he is a more mature 10-year-old and does indeed have a larger vocabulary.
This topic also reminds me of the video we watched in class about the teacher who had a year-long project called the “word wall.” The concept was used to help younger students with recognizing words, and created a sense of pride in how much they had learned since the beginning of the year (it was something very tangible to see). Not only did the word wall consist of new words, though, they were words that the students worked on weekly and could recognize through repetition and mastery. I would love to incorporate something to that affect in a classroom one day.