Independent Practice and Review Strategies

by | Feb 8, 2024


In the final part of our series on explicit instruction and academic vocabulary development, we will explore independent practice and review strategies to reinforce academic vocabulary across the curriculum. These strategies aim to ensure that students regularly and accurately use academic words in speaking and writing, both in and out of the classroom.


Independent Practice (You do):


  • Structured Language Practice Strategies (SLPS):


    • Implement regular use of SLPS to ensure that each student practices academic language multiple times within a lesson.
    • Teach and model SLPS procedures explicitly, demonstrating successful participation and emphasizing the use of target language.
    • Keep SLPS rigorous and mandatory, focusing on language that has been explicitly taught.
    • Use timers or signals to mark transitions and maintain a snappy pace, encouraging students to increase their speed.
    • Circulate to monitor participation and accuracy, providing targeted support as needed.
    • Extend SLPS to writing activities, requiring students to produce brief written products that incorporate target vocabulary.


  • Integration into Assessment:


    • Require accurate and flexible use of academic vocabulary in written assignments, collaborative projects, class discussions, homework, and exit tickets.
    • Include academic vocabulary in assessments such as quizzes, tests, and writing rubrics, assessing students’ ability to apply the words in context.
    • Maintain an ongoing focus on academic vocabulary development throughout the year, ensuring that students have ample opportunities to practice and demonstrate mastery.


Review and Deep Processing:


  • Strategically Integrated Instruction:


    • Integrate taught academic vocabulary into daily instructional routines, ensuring that students encounter the words frequently and have opportunities to apply their knowledge.
    • Focus on the relationship of selected words to important concepts or themes, reinforcing understanding through meaningful connections.
    • Engage students in activities such as analogies, categorizing, and close reading focused on vocabulary, encouraging them to explore relationships between words and concepts.


  • Activities for Vocabulary Development:


    • Implement activities such as 3 X 3 Vocabulary and Analogies to promote the identification of relationships between words and concepts.
    • Use categorizing activities, such as List-Group-Label, to help students see commonalities and connections among words.
    • Select Tier Two and Tier Three vocabulary strategically, focusing on words that significantly impact the meaning of texts and support students’ understanding of key concepts.
    • Provide exposure to unfamiliar academic language through quick explanations or synonyms, building students’ receptive language skills.


By systematically integrating independent practice and review strategies into instruction, educators ensure that students internalize and apply academic vocabulary across all subject areas. Through consistent reinforcement and meaningful engagement, students develop the language proficiency necessary for academic success.


In conclusion, explicit instruction and academic vocabulary development are essential components of effective teaching and learning. By prioritizing systematic practice, review, and deep processing, educators empower students to engage confidently with academic content and communicate their understanding effectively. Through collaborative planning, differentiated instruction, and research-proven strategies, we can create a supportive learning environment where all students thrive.