The development of word definitions is related to literacy and school success. Moreover, definitions depict vocabulary development, since “good” (i.e. formal) definitions reveal that the word is well-established to the mental lexicon and it can be properly used. The role of education is pivotal for the improvement of definitional abilities. The current paper discusses the importance of formal word definitions and suggests an educational proposal of activities to improve the definitional abilities of monolingual and bilingual children. The proposed plan exploits didactic principles, works on the comprehension of formal definitions, and gradually moves to their production by improving vocabulary organization, at once. Additionally, it utilizes differentiated instruction to be implemented in classes with a mixed population of monolingual and bilingual elementary students. This paper aims to help teachers/language instructors in order to enhance their students’ definitional abilities and increase their school success in the long run.
Keywords: educational interventions, formal definitions, monolingual and bilingual children