Frayer Model with Newsela for Secondary Students

Frayer models help to deepen student vocabulary comprehension, activate synthesis with the concept being taught, and foster engagement
24 teachers like this strategy
Frayer Model Explanation

About This Strategy

The Frayer model is a graphic organizer for building student vocabulary in all subject areas. This technique requires students to define target vocabulary and apply their knowledge by generating examples and non-examples, giving characteristics, and/or drawing a picture to illustrate the meaning of the word. Teachers can help students to apply some of the key practices of vocabulary acquisition such as contextualizing terms, actively processing information, and experiencing multiple exposures to terms by using the Frayer model strategy.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Initial instruction about the Frayer model is heavily teacher-directed and requires teacher modeling. Be sure to become familiar with the Frayer model Template before modeling it for students. Several resources are included below to consult about how to use a Frayer model.

  2. Choose two Newsela articles or a Text Set that are related to the current unit of study. One article will be used for the teacher to model the Frayer model Strategy process, and another article will be used for student practice.

  3. Choose vocabulary from the Newsela article you will model for students as well as the Newsela articles or Text Sets that your students will read. Or, Newsela PRO users can use the Newsela Power Word feature to generate terms for students to make a Frayer model on. To learn more about Power Words, consult the resource below.

    • Note -  Frayer models are to be used for big terms or concepts in a unit (for example, students might not make a Frayer model for the word "speedy," but they would make a Frayer model for the word "ecosystem").

  4. Print enough Frayer model Templates for each student to have one per new vocabulary word they are learning.  These templates can be printed front to back to save paper. Or consider having students complete a Frayer model digitally by making a copy of and giving students access to the Frayer model google doc in the resource section below.

Student Preparation:

  1. Introduce students to the to Frayer model template.

  2. Model for students how to complete a Frayer model by reading a short text on Newsela, identifying a word to create a Frayer model about, and creating the Frayer model using context clues. Use the student-facing slides included in the resource section below to guide the modeling process. Have students complete a Frayer model during the teacher modeling process.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Newsela article or Text Set to students. Decide whether to provide it at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student or adjust the reading level to a particular grade for all students.

  2. Have students read the text once independently using Newsela Annotations to identify key terms and important ideas.  

  3. Share with students the word or words in the text that they will create a Frayer model for. Or, consider having students select the word or words that they will create a Frayer model for on their own as they read.

  4. Have the students read the text a second time and create a Frayer model on their assigned or selected word from the text. Once students have sufficient experience with the Frayer model, they should be able to complete sections in class with the Newsela articles without teacher guidance (i.e., independently, in pairs, or in small groups). When doing so, they should still be required to explain their rationale for the characteristics, examples, and non-examples they chose. It is helpful to ask students to show how they used information from their Newsela article or Newsela text set to complete sections.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Call students back together and go over their answers with a peer. Fill in any missing information and encourage students to complete their graphic organizers if there is any missing or incorrect information.

  2. Engage in a reflection on the strategy with students.

    • Have students explain why they completed these activities by asking them why it is important to not only learn new vocabulary words but also analyze and take apart the words?

    • Guide the discussion so that students are comfortable with the objective of the day and understand that listing characteristics, examples, and non-examples of words helps in learning and remembering the words. Definitions are good, but alone, they do not always help you learn and remember.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

We Have Chemistry

  • Essential Question: What answers does Chemistry provide about our world?
  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Content Area: General Science, Chemistry

Natural Disasters

  • Essential Question: How do weather phenomena and geologic events provoke fear and awe?
  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Content Area: General Science, Environmental Science

Engineering & Technology: Developing Possible Solutions

  • Essential Question: During the open ended phase of engineering, how do new ideas turn into solutions?
  • Grade Level: 7-12
  • Content Area: Engineering, STEM, Physics, Physical Science


EL Modification

The Frayer model strategy is particularly useful for EL students to help them to understand key vocabulary terms in their content area classrooms. Classroom teachers can pre-teach essential content area vocabulary terms through using Frayer models with an opportunity to draw word representations and fill out the other aspects of the Frayer template with the teacher's guidance. This way, EL students can learn important content vocabulary before being immersed in content reading where the vocabulary is expected to be in their lexicon.

Implementation Steps:

  1. Give students the Frayer model template and assign students an article to read at their "just right" reading level.

  2. Select key terms for EL learners in a passage that support their content-area knowledge.

    • For example, in a biology classroom, students should complete a Frayer model on a term such as "ecosystem".

  3. Have students fill out the templates with the teacher's guidance to learn the meaning of the key content term.