The Rarity of Engaged Readers

This post was expertly written by my coauthor, Angela Peery, and originally appeared on her blog. She's active on Twitter -  follow her @drangelapeery.   Picture a classroom full of youngsters. They could be darling, chubby-cheeked kindergartners or swaggering, confident high school seniors – or anything in between. Can you see them? Now, picture this class engrossed in reading. What does being engrossed in reading look like? What does it sound like? What evidence exists that … [Read more...]

Take a Peek at the TOC in our Upcoming Blended Vocabulary Book!

I'm so excited about our new blended vocabulary book that will be published this summer by Solution Tree Press (@SolutionTree). It's been a long time coming after years of working with schools and districts to strengthen their vocabulary instruction and independent word learning. My co-author, Dr. Angela Peery (@drangelapeery), and I have worked diligently to create a practical resource for K-12 teachers, leaders, instructional coaches, and pre-service teachers. Unique Features While there … [Read more...]

13 Can’t-Miss Strategies to Help Schools End the Summer Reading Gap!

In a few, (very) short weeks, the school year will come to a close. Students (and teachers) have begun the infamous countdown. Regardless of how hard you've worked to support literacy learning in your classroom, summer sneaks in and can quickly chip away at your best efforts and the progress students have made. In this post, I'll share  concrete strategies to keep this from happening. In this post, I'll share a few facts about summer reading loss, and 11 simple ways schools can support … [Read more...]

Deepen Word Learning with Vocabulary Videos

It appears there is no stopping the amount of interest in creating videos particularly among teenagers. Vocabulary Videos (Dalton & Schmidt, 2015) draws upon that interest and ties it into word learning. The goal of Vocabulary Videos is straightforward – students demonstrate their understanding of specific words by creating 15-45 second skits. The emphasis is not on following a script but rather improvisational and designed to tell a quick story to help others understand the meaning of a … [Read more...]

Anchored Word Learning: Read Alouds with a Purpose

Read alouds are the perfect venue for providing a model of fluent reading, talking about text, and building comprehension skills.  Additionally, read alouds provide an integrated  way for introducing vocabulary in a meaningful context. Anchored Word Learning (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002) is one of my favorite strategies for introducing targeted words with young children. With early learners, picture books have a higher level vocabulary not typically found in leveled texts. Anchored … [Read more...]

Making Word Learning Visual for English Learners

Vocabulary development is key to comprehension - a well-known fact. A broad vocabulary is important for academic success, college and career readiness, and lifelong learning opportunities. Systematic vocabulary instruction must be an integral part of a K-12 comprehensive literacy framework for instruction. I've written previously about the top characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction and summarized them in a frequently downloaded infographic. You can download those tips for … [Read more...]

Vocabulary is Key to Learning at Bronx M.S. 22 (and your school!)

Teachers at Jordan Mott Middle School (M.S. 22) in the Bronx, part of Mayor Bill DeBlasio's Renewal Schools, have been working hard to increase student achievement. Under the leadership of Principal Edgar Lin, teachers have been engaging in job-embedded professional learning that addresses their students' need for increasing their literacy skills. Solution Tree has been supporting Jordan Mott's school improvement efforts. As part of their work, I recently had the privilege of spending a few … [Read more...]

The Journey to Writing a Vocabulary Book

So, I've been quiet on my blog for quite a while. This is due, in part, because of my work for Solution Tree supporting product development for K-12 schools. As you can imagine, that keeps my really busy. The other part of the equation for my lack of blogging has been thinking, reflecting, and writing a book about vocabulary. If you follow my blog, you know that I write frequently about selecting, teaching, and assessing vocabulary. The thinking and reflecting about vocabulary is the easy … [Read more...]

12 Days of Literacy

For two years, I posted 12 Days of Literacy where I shared infographics, strategies, and tools to help teachers improve literacy instruction to increase student learning. Life gets busy, and now I'm in the throes of completing a vocabulary book to be published by @SolutionTree. Summarized below are the 12 tools I developed in 2014. Below the list of tools, I’ve included a breakdown that summarizes the number and type of tools shared. I've also included links to each tool. These tools can … [Read more...]

25 Strategies for Schools to Support Independent Reading

Increased rigor and having students read challenging text is on everyone's mind. While independent reading and student choice may seem like old news, they remain important. Why? Fundamentally, because reading builds vocabulary, fluency, and background knowledge. Student choice and motivation play key roles in nurturing independent reading. Strong, capable readers are those who read widely and diversely in a wide variety of genres and text types. In the quest to build capable readers, … [Read more...]