Tier two words

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In Bringing Words to Life (Guildford Press, 2002), Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan explain the concept of tiers of vocabulary words:

  • Tier One words are simple words that most children will learn without explicit instruction (such as like or bus).
  • Tier Three words are highly specific to a domain (such as isotope).
  • Tier two words are in between tier one and three. They are words such as reluctant, absurd, pinnacle, nuisance, and commotion.

According to Beck et al., focusing vocabulary instruction on Tier Two words helps ensure that it provides maximum benefit to students who will get Tier One words from daily usage and Tier Three words from content area instruction.