SVES (Stephens Vocabulary Elaboration Strategy): During Reading

The Stephens Vocabulary Elaboration Strategy (SVES) requires students to maintain a vocabulary notebook. Whenever a new (or unclear) word confronts a student, the student writes and defines the term in the vocabulary notebook. Students should regularly review these words with the ultimate goal of integrating them into their working vocabularies.
This strategy stresses dictionary skills. Students use a dictionary to define new words and their parts of speech. The dictionary also points out the multiple meanings of many words. Students use critical thinking skills to analyze the specific content of a reading selection to determine the most appropriate definition of a word.

Steps to Stephens Vocabulary Elaboration Strategy (SVES):

1. Require students to obtain a spiral notebook to record new vocabulary words.

2. Ask students to write any new or unclear word in the notebook. Also, ask them to write the context in which the word was used.

3. Require students to write dictionary definitions (including the parts of speech) by any new word in their notebooks. For words with multiple definitions, students should select the most appropriate meaning for the context.

4. Encourage students to also define the terms in their own language and compare their thoughts with the dictionary definitions. Personal definitions should be revised to more precisely reflect the meaning conveyed in the dictionary, without sacrificing the individual's vocabulary.

5. Ask students to regularly review their growing vocabulary list. Encourage students to use these new words in their written and oral presentations.

Rationale and example:

The development of vocabulary, and the subsequent elimination of the fear of new terminology, is a fundamental aspect of reading and writing processes. Consistently, throughout textbooks and assorted materials, students encounter words that are foreign to them. Thus, this system allows students to, firstly, understand and expand their own personal vocabulary, and, secondly, to apply aspects of context when determining the proper definition. Though collegiate institutions state that they are phasing out the usage of SAT type assessments as part of entrance requirements, these institutions still examine the vocabulary of students associated with college essays. A student’s lexicon is apparent, observable, and incorporated into this assessment process, and, thus, must be developed within a college-preparatory setting.

Source: SVES