• Assessment;
  • Informal;
  • Self-assessment;
  • Comprehension;
  • Prior knowledge;
  • Content literacy;
  • Content analyses;
  • Language learners;
  • English language learners;
  • English learners;
  • English as a second language;
  • English for speakers of other languages;
  • Strategies;
  • methods;
  • and materials;
  • Instructional strategies;
  • teaching strategies;
  • Vocabulary;
  • Cognates;
  • General vocabulary;
  • Practice;
  • exposure;
  • wide reading;
  • Specialized vocabulary


Vocabulary knowledge, which is key to the reading comprehension of English learners (ELs), must be a focus for every teacher in today's increasingly diverse schools, including those in the mainstream classroom. This article strives to increase awareness of the five characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction as well as demonstrate how such characteristics can be variously emphasized in the before-, during-, and after-reading phases of the instructional process. Research-based strategies can provide teachers and ELs with a gateway to increased vocabulary learning. One such strategy, the Vocabulary Quilt, is explored in depth to illustrate how teachers can use a single strategy throughout the lesson to access students' background knowledge, support students in making critical content connections, and guide students to higher levels of word knowledge.