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...]

Informational Text Features | Supporting Readers Series

Informational text has received much attention with the shift, in many states, to the Common Core standards. Sometimes teachers and students lump nonfiction and information text together. While that's not all together incorrect, informational text serves a specific purpose. Informational text serves to convey information about the natural or social world. Unlike biographies or other nonfiction texts, informational text serves distinct purposes for readers. Informational text also comes in many … [Read more...]

Breaking Down the Myth of “Learning to Read” and “Reading to Learn”

When I'm working with educators, I frequently hear the phrase that goes something like this, "Students in primary grades are "learning to read" and beyond that they are "reading to learn." As often as I hear this myth, I cringe each and every time. And here's why. Here's what's true: It's true that early literacy skills focus on phonemic awareness and phonics - the nuts and bolts of reading - and typically that instruction takes place in the primary grades. And, it's true that in about … [Read more...]

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Vocabulary Instruction

We know that there is a strong relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension. Systematic vocabulary instruction must be an integral component of a K-12 comprehensive instructional framework While there is no one correct way to teach vocabulary, common characteristics of effective vocabulary instruction have been documented in many professional journals and books. And yet, recent NAEP results for vocabulary reveal no significant change in vocabulary scores for 4th- and 8th-grade … [Read more...]

Common Core Vocabulary Cheat Sheet {12 Days of Literacy}

Tool 1: {Cheat Sheet} Common Core ELA & Literacy Vocabulary A bit of background. Last December, I ran a series entitled {12 Days: 12 Tools} which featured 1 tool, infographic, or resource over 12 days (well, maybe a few more but who's counting). {12 Days: 12 Tools} was very popular and a few of the posts have become the most widely read posts of the year. I've listed a few below that got folks excited. Twitter Cheat Sheet Pinterest Cheat Sheet Top Tips for Word … [Read more...]

{Infographic} The Benefits of Reading Aloud

In the lives of busy families, reading aloud can easily drop off the radar. Read Aloud 15 MINUTES is an organization that challenges parents to pick up a book and read to your child at least 15 minutes a day. By reading to your child every day from birth, he/she will have an advanced vocabulary and phonemic awareness skills, basic building blocks necessary for learning to read. Your child will also have advanced listening skills, necessary for comprehending text. Your child will have a … [Read more...]

25 Great Ways Schools Can Support Reading

In the age of the Common Core and its emphasis upon having students take on more challenging text, independent reading and student choice can easily take a back seat to the demands of increased rigor. However, in a balanced literacy program, they remain important. Motivation and choice play key roles in reading. And, strong and 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, promoting … [Read more...]

Text, Task, & Context: 3 Key Common Core Considerations

Text complexity. Close reading. Increased Rigor. These and other similar topics have become commonplace as teachers are beginning to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Since all teachers are now expected to address reading skills within their grade level or content area, new demands and challenges arise. And, as teachers use more nonfiction and informational text in the classroom, questions emerge. Sometimes I think a "back-to-the-basics" framework is in order and can help … [Read more...]

How to Select & Teach Academic Vocabulary at the Secondary Level {Part 1 of 2}

Effective vocabulary instruction is important at every level. However, as a secondary teacher, you have an especially important task. Understanding academic vocabulary is essential to content area reading and learning. So important that research reveals 80% of comprehending informational text is tied to understanding the vocabulary (Nagy & Scott, 2000; Pressley, 2002). While the task of teaching vocabulary is important, it can sometimes feel daunting. So many words. How do you choose? … [Read more...]

4 Stages of Learning Vocabulary (and why it’s important)

Teaching vocabulary can be tough - but you gotta' do it. Why? Because word learning is connected at the hip to teaching content at any level. And, we know that student achievement and learning is directly related word knowledge. In today's post, I'm going to share a really simple concept that is essential for you to understand when teaching vocabulary. And, students need to understand it, too. For those new to this blog, I've written numerous posts about vocabulary. If you're interested in … [Read more...]