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The Vocabulary Self-Collection strategy (VSS)

The  Vocabulary Self-Collection strategy (VSS) is an interactive-learning instructional
strategy that promotes word consciousness, as students are actively engaged in identify-ing important words from their reading to share with members of their class. The strat-egy was first introduced by Haggard (1982, 1986) and since then has been adapted for
various grade levels and instructional contexts. Students select words from their read-ings that are new and interesting, use the context and other resources to determine the
meaning of the words, and nominate the words to be learned by others in the group or
class. Teachers using the VSS (1) model the process of collecting words, (2) provide
guided practice within reading groups and other instructional contexts, and (3) offer
consistent encouragement to students to use VSS during independent reading. The major
benefits of using VSS are that students engage in their own learning, discover how to
recognize unfamiliar or interesting words from their readings, develop their vocabular-ies, and become word conscious.
A review of the research on vocabulary instruction conducted by Harmon and
Hedrick (2005) led them to claim that struggling readers learn vocabulary when teach-ers “encourage independent learning by allowing students to self-select terms to be
studied” (p. 275). They pointed to VSS as an approach to encourage students to select
and study words that they feel are important to learn. Research conducted by Calderon
et al. (2005) with English language learners demonstrated that, in addition to teaching
vocabulary before reading, their discourse around the text after reading leads to stu-dents’ vocabulary development.


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