Thank Goodness It's Literacy

Vocabulary Words to GO!

By: Sonia Martin

Learning about words and their meanings are major corner stones of comprehension. Knowledge of words is directly correlated to the readability of varied text. Did you know that reading comprehension in middle and high school is based on vocabulary awareness in kindergarten and first grade? Children entering school with sound vocabularies, enter with a higher knowledge of words, while children with inadequate language experiences enter with knowing fewer words. The disparity between word knowledge and comprehension for students with restricted vocabularies begins to widen or lessen depending on the vocabulary development experiences they encounter in school. To close the vocabulary gap, teachers are encouraged to provide daily exposure to a variety vocabulary words, techniques and strategies grow word knowledge faster (Graves, 2007). Mike Graves, the author of “The Vocabulary Book” recommends: 1)Frequent, varied, and extensive language experiences, 2) Teaching individual words, 3)Teaching word learning strategies, and 4) Fostering word consciousness.

Vocabulary Activities

1. Frayer Model- Write the definition, list synonyms, list antonyms, write each word in a sentence (choose 4 to 5 words or less)

2. Word Concept Maps- Students draw a large circle in the middle and associate words that are related to the vocabulary word around it (see picture).

3. Word Detective- Students search for words and their meanings within a non-fiction text (look for context clues to uncover meanings of words, example definitions, right there definitions).

4. Word Draw- Students draw pictures to depict the meanings of words on index cards along with the definition in their own words.

5. Conceptualizing Vocabulary- The teacher places pictures around the room that illustrate the meanings of specific words (without the word). Students predict the meaning of the pictures before the group’s discussion and record their responses on chart paper that are placed next to the pictures (Teaching Channel Video).

Word Work...It’s Not What it Used to Be!

By: Denise Jones

Many years ago, Word Work development was handing students a list of words, making them write the words five times each, and giving them a Spelling Test on Friday. The words were memorized long enough to take the assessment, and then were lost from memory. True Word Work allows students time to practice words by looking for: letters and their corresponding sounds, components of words (roots, prefixes, suffixes), and how pieces of a word often give a hint as to the meaning. Word Study calls for active problem solving to look for patterns, form hypotheses and predict outcomes. We want students to make connections such as, “What do I know about this new word, and how is it similar to words I know already?” Help your students think words through, and they will hold onto them in both memory and use for many years to come!

Word Work - Examples

Two-Column Notes: Stretching Vocabulary By; Lisa Mixon

Complex vocabulary and sentences found in nonfiction texts often make it difficult for inexperienced readers to grasp the overall message or intent of the text. Students seem to walk away from these texts with nothing more than a handful of details that rapidly seep from memory. The Common Core State Standards remind us that learning to gather information from books is a central aspect of a student's literacy learning. The standards also emphasize the need for teaching students to conduct research and write informational texts, which means most of us need to beef-up our teaching skills for nonfiction reading and writing.

Rita on Two-Column Notes

Loving Lexiles

By: Carrie Meadows

Strong reading skills are essential to students’ success in school and life, so it is important t to use every research-based strategy and resource available to build and improve their reading comprehension abilities. The Lexile Framework® for Reading is the most widely adopted reading measurement system in use today and assesses both students’ reading abilities and the text difficulty in books, magazines and even newspapers. In North Carolina, students in grades 3–8, as well as high school students taking the English I state assessment, receive a Lexile measure on their end-of-grade or end-of-course test results. I am excited to announce that the Media Center is currently labeling its collection with Lexile measures to assist students and teachers in matching appropriate materials to reading abilities.