Vocabulary-Building Strategies for Students in Grades 4-12

(Grades 4-12) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 101T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC40145


Course Description

Do your students struggle with academic vocabulary? Does vocabulary instruction often get set aside for more “important” literacy-related instruction? This online course is designed to increase the effectiveness of vocabulary instruction in grades 4-12. This course teaches about the importance of explicitly teaching vocabulary and what teachers can specifically do to enhance their literacy programs so that vocabulary development is constantly nurtured. Teachers will learn specific strategies such as Greek and Latin roots, structural analysis, and morphology in order to increase comprehension. Teachers will learn how to incorporate graphic organizers such as concept maps and word webs into their daily instruction in order to boost students’ vocabulary knowledge, both in reading and across all content areas. The idea of using vocabulary games will also be explored. Differentiation and assessment are also discussed, resulting in an in-depth understanding of just what it takes to foster a quality vocabulary program. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"I've never taught course vocabulary with any real strategy. What a mistake. I never imagined there are so many great strategies that look super engaging. I know my students will love it and I can't wait to teach my first lesson. This was an awesome course." - Richard Drurey

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.


Print our customized course approval form to share with your school district.



Required Resource Book

This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List



UCSD Course Number: EDUC40145
Unit One
  • Academic Language and the Common Core
  • Choosing Words to Teach
  • Introducing New Words
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Morphological Strategies
  • Structural Analysis and Word Parts
  • Greek and Latin Roots and Other Word Parts
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Using Context Clues
  • Concept Maps and Word Webs
  • Words Their Way
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Semantic Feature Analysis
  • Figurative Language and Analogies
  • Mnemonics and Word Associations
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Using Reference Materials
  • The Reading Connection
  • Fostering Vocabulary through Writing
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Vocabulary Games
  • Differentiating Vocabulary Instruction
  • Content Area Vocabulary
  • Vocabulary Assessment in Context
  • Assignment #4: Develop a vocabulary unit and assessment
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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