The above is the Frayer model, developed in 1969 by Dorothy Frayer at the University of Wisconsin. It has been championed by Alex Quigley and it is perfectly fine for the majority of students.
However, for students with low working memory, this method is insufficient to enable new vocabulary to stick. This is the eternal problem in the field of educational research – it rarely focuses on what works for struggling students and most things work for the majority – to differing degrees.
Why is it insufficient? Because it is the individual sounds (phonemes) in language which create difficulties for students with low working memory. This impacts on their ability to decode, sequence and pronounce new vocabulary, it also impacts on their ability to learn and retrieve new vocabulary accurately and fluently.
They will benefit from:
Chunking the word into syllables – denoting which vowels are long (open syllables) and short (closed syllables)
Paying attention to morphology (word structure) which includes prefixes and suffixes
Exploring etymology (word history) which can give them additional meaning (semantic information) to enable the word to stick.Read more: Vocabulary: what’s missing from the Frayer Model?
Find a list of language from language for life which has been researched according to etymology here: Thinking about language