“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is rich in vocabulary, and many words are embedded in strong context clues. This high-interest novel is an ideal choice to help students increase their vocabulary. I have used this set of materials in a pre-college summer bridge program and in a vocabulary development course for underprepared first-year students at my university. These materials are also suitable for high school students. This package includes six items.
(1) A 13-page list of 189 words from the novel, listed in the order in which they appear. Page numbers and space for students to write definitions are included.
(2) A 50-question pre-assessment to determine how many words students know before you teach the unit. This instrument can also be used as a post-assessment so students can see their progress. All 50 questions are multiple choice; students must select the definition for each word. An answer key is included.
(3) Three vocabulary tests, including an answer key for each test. Test #1, on words from pp. 1-149, contains 27 questions. Test #2, on words from pp. 149-261, has 27 questions. Test #3, on words from pp. 261-317, has 19 questions. These questions that test students’ vocabulary knowledge tend to be easier for students who are current with their reading. This creates an incentive for students to read. My tests do not include low-level learning questions, such as matching words to definitions, because these promote only short-term memorization. Many of the questions on my tests require not only word knowledge but also an understanding of the story and higher-level thinking. Here is one example:
When Amir and Baba move to the United States,
(a) Baba’s income plummets
(b) they feign wealth
(c) Baba is wary of working in a new county so he is unemployed
(d) Baba alleviates their initial struggles by accepting food stamps.
(4) A two-page exercise that asks students to determine the meaning of up to 14 words based on context clues. This exercise can be used as homework or an in-class activity. It is especially appropriate for small-group work.