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Deep Processing a Vocabulary Word
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CODE: Deep Processing a Vocabulary Word through Multisensory Channels

The four steps in C-O-D-E strategy for putting words into memory are Connect, Organize, Deep process, and Explore core vocabulary. Let's look in more depth at the third step, "deep process" a word. In this step, you intensify vocabulary by using multiple sensory channels. That is, you strengthen your learning by processing a word four ways.
        Here's a review of the steps you read about in your text. What is added here is a sample chart showing how you could deep process the word "tyrant."

(1) Explain the term in your own words and write it down. This taps your linguistic (language) understanding.
(2) In your mind, create a picture of the word itself and a visual representation of what it means. You can also make a couple of drawings and illustrations. This taps into visual understanding.
(3) Link the word to an emotional response. What feelings do you associate with the word? Describe those feelings. Say the word and the definition with feeling. This taps into emotional understanding.
(4) Represent the word physically. That is, make a physical symbol with your hands or body that explains what the new term means to you. Say the word and the definition as you make the facial expression or gesture. This taps your kinesthetic (bodily) understanding.

Linguistic Understanding

Look up the word. Then write the definition in your own words.

A tyrant is a person who has absolute power, and uses it in a harsh, cruel manner.

Visual Understanding

Create a picture of the word or a visual representation of what it means.

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Emotional Understanding

Link the word to an emotional response.

I would feel fear and anger if I were ruled by a tyrant.


Kinesthetic Understanding

Represent the word physically.

I would use a raised fist and a mean expression to symbolize a tyrant because tyrants are powerful, mean, and cruel.

Explore Core Vocabulary

“Explore core vocabulary” is the fourth and final step in C-O-D-E strategy for putting words into memory. The meaning of a word is more than j ust a dictionary definition, especially if it is a concept word. Examples of concept words and the sub j ects they occur in are democracy in history, theory in science, context clues in reading, theme in literature, program in computer science, and function in math. The following tips will help you expand your knowledge of these key terms:

  • Take time to examine, refine, and revise your understanding of core vocabulary words.

  • Look for examples of the word to help you understand how it is used. Create examples of your own.

  • Keep a vocabulary notebook as an alternative to making vocabulary cards.

    Here's how to set up the pages in your vocabulary notebook:

    • Rule off four columns on a sheet of notebook paper. Label them as shown below.
    • In the first column, write the vocabulary word.
    • In the second column, write your definition based on the context in which you found the word or on your existing knowledge and experience.
    • In the third column, write the dictionary or textbook definition .
    • In the fourth column, write a comparison of your definition and the actual definition. (You may want to add a synonym column.)

Here's an example using the words tyrant and coup d'etat:


My Definition

Dictionary Definition



A ruler who's mean

A ruler who has all the power, and who rules in a harsh or cruel manner

I didn't have the part about the tyrant having ALL the power.

coup d'etat

An uprising

The sudden overthrow of a government, usually by a small group of people who previously were in positions of authority.

I didn't understand that a government is actually replaced by other people who take over by force. Also, I didn't know those people had probably held some power before.

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