The Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy (Haggard, 1986) is a small group activity for word learning. In this activity, students read a text selection and the teacher and each student is responsible for bringing two words to the attention of the group. Students are encouraged to choose words they have heard or seen in previous reading, but may not be able to define.
Each student shares a word and talks about where it was encountered, what it might mean, and why the word would be important for the class to know. After everyone in the group has had a chance to share, the group determines which 5 to 8 words they want to target for the week. After the list is made, the teacher leads a discussion about the words to refine, clarify and extend the definitions. This discussion is critical to the process. Students enter the words and the definition (in their own words) into their Vocabulary Logs and practice the words in various activities during the week.
This strategy is especially effective with students learning English as a second language. In the discussions students can explore word histories, synonyms, antonyms, and personal experiences. Because the teacher also selects words, he/she models good vocabulary learning strategies.
Websites on Vocabulary Self-Selection:
Vocabulary Self-Selection Strategy for A Wrinkle in Time - PDF