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Student VOC Strategy

The Student VOC Strategy combines the strengths of the Contextual Redefinition and Visual Imagery strategies. Students first identify key words in a reading selection and define them (or deduce their definitions) from their context within the larger document. Students then "visualize" or imagine the scene described in the reading in vivid sensory terms.

The "visualizations" tie the "unknown"—the current reading content—to the "known"—the reader's past knowledge and experience. This strategy greatly enhances retention by adding a sensory connection between the reading content and the reader's prior knowledge.

Steps to the Student VOC Strategy:

  1. Prior to a reading assignment, list key vocabulary words from the selection on the chalkboard.

  2. Ask students to identify any word that is unknown or unclear.

  3. Have student try to define (or deduce) the meaning of these words by . . .

    1. Locating the sentence in the document containing the term and trying to uncover the term's meaning from this context.

    2. Looking up the term's definition in a dictionary or discussing the term's definition with a classmate.

    3. Writing the word in a new sentence to demonstrate comprehension.

    4. "Visualizing" the term as presented in the document—that is, by imagining the scene in the text in sensory detail (in terms of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell). Students should be encouraged to associate this "visualization" with some past personal experience. This sensory connection will assist in long-term retention of this information.

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