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...]

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...]

Digital Learning & Growing Vocabulary

Today is Digital Learning day sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education. I encourage you to check out the website for resources, interviews with educators, and highlights from school districts that are realizing success integrating digital tools to support learning across their schools and classrooms. I write frequently about vocabulary and word learning. The importance of a broad vocabulary simply cannot be underestimated - in learning and in life. In 21st century classrooms, I … [Read more...]

#LitLeadchat: A New Twitter Chat for Literacy Leaders

Looking for a chat dedicated to literacy and those who lead literacy? I am eager to announce that I am co-moderating a new chat entitled #LitLeadchat. Along with Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris of Burkins and Yaris, we'll be talking all things literacy during this weekly chat. The details are listed below. #LitLeadchat Details Mondays (beginning 3/3) Time:  8 - 9 pm (ET) Hashtag:  #LitLeadchat First topic: What is a literacy leader? This chat is specifically for literacy leaders … [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...]

Infographic: Marzano’s 9 Effective Instructional Strategies {12 Days of Literacy}

Effective schools make a big difference in student achievement. Effective leadership makes a positive difference, too. Effective teachers, however, directly impact student learning and achievement. It's been shown that teachers who have a large repertoire of effective instructional strategies teach differently. They're more intentional in their objectives, strategies, and intended outcomes. And, have better results. Robert Marzano, an educational leader, conducted a meta-analysis of … [Read more...]

Alphaboxes: 14 Strategies to Use Before, During, & After Reading {12 Days of Literacy}

Day 8: 14 Simple Strategies for Using & Extending Alphaboxes Alphaboxes, as created by Linda Hoyt, is a strategy which encourages student to interact with text. In addition, alphaboxes helps student activate prior knowledge, build vocabulary, and increase comprehension. Using the alphaboxes graphic organizer helps students make connections to new information before, during and after reading. Using and extending the strategy in a variety of ways moves students beyond simple recall of … [Read more...]

Infographic: 5 Simple Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction {12 Days of Literacy}

Day 4:  {Infographic} 5 Simple Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction We know that vocabulary instruction is important. I frequently see teachers (and administrators) struggle with the nuts and bolts of vocabulary instruction. Selecting words, choosing effective instructional strategies, and tying in digital tools – it’s a lot to tackle, isn’t it? These 5 simple steps will make selecting and teaching vocabulary easier than you might think. For a more complete description of each step, … [Read more...]