Vocabulary Preview

UDL 2.1

Vocabulary preview is a strategy of introducing new and unfamiliar words to students prior to reading or writing. Vocabulary previews may include teaching the definitions of the words, creating visuals of the words or providing examples of the word in use. Vocabulary previews increase student’s overall access to words and the meaning of words to support reading comprehension and language development.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Planning Guide

Academic Vocabulary Teacher Planning Template

This simple 1-page planning template can be used by teachers to determine which academic vocabulary words to focus on for direct instruction. The planning template incorporates research-based vocabulary selection guidelines (Kinsella and Feldman, 2005) so that direct instruction is focused on the most high-value academic vocabulary (i.e. Tier 2 Academic Vocabulary). .

Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · English Language Arts, Reading, Language · 3 pages

Implementation Tips

Illustrations can be used along with a text definition to provide access to students who are stronger visual learners or are English Language Learners.
Multiple Vocabulary Supports
Vocabulary Preview can be paired with a strategy such as Word Bank or Glossary so that students can build up and reference the vocabulary they have learned on an as needed basis.
Using Realia or real-life examples can help support students learning and understanding of the core content and materials.


Before reading a scientific article on genetics, students could create their own flashcards with the vocabulary on one side (e.g. "DNA") with the definition and illustration on the other side (e.g. "Hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms" with a picture of the double helix). Students can quiz each other using the flashcards they have created.
Social Studies
Before reading a historical article on the California Gold Rush, the the teacher can lead a group activity of constructing a wall chart of key people and places (e.g. "James Marshall," "Sutter's Mill," "San Francisco," "forty-niners") with a corresponding illustration or definition.
English Language Arts
Before reading a work of fiction, unfamiliar expressions/colloquialisms used by the author or characters in the story can be previewed.

Related Strategies