Ling Fridays: Robinson on dictionary use in L2 learning

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486 Van Hise
@ 3:00 pm

Dictionary Proficiency: A Cornerstone in Evidence-Based Language Learning

Shawn Anthony Robinson, Research Affiliate – Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB), University of Wisconsin Madison

This presentation (working paper) highlights the essential role of dictionary skills in evidence-based language proficiency, particularly in the context of both adolescent and adult literacy. It centers on a specialized Word Analysis course that merges linguistic theory with instructional practices, emphasizing foundational reading abilities while underscoring the significance of proficient dictionary utilization. At the heart of this approach lies the implementation of a Simultaneous Multisensory Instructional Procedure crafted to immerse students in the sound structure of the American English language, leveraging visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile senses. This technique not only supports novice language learners but also aids individuals encountering reading challenges such as dyslexia. Through exercises focusing on oral spelling, diacritical mark application, and recall-driven encoding, instructional practices aim to increase comprehension and memory skills critical for proficient reading. The presentation explores tailored decoding and encoding strategies using the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition, integrating phonological insights. This integration reflects the conference theme, spotlighting dictionaries as foundational tools for language acquisition. It emphasizes their complementary role in evidence-based reading practices and aligns with the core tenets of the Five Pillars of Reading. An integral aspect highlighted within this presentation involves accessing and cracking the pronunciation symbols of the dictionary, enriching the students’ understanding of linguistic nuances, and fostering comprehensive language acquisition.