Reading Should be Hard – or – How to Help without Helping too Much

I recently read an article on the internet that fascinated me but was hard reading. I mean I had to go back repeatedly to reread sentences or to refer to the beginning of the paragraph to refocus on the topic. There were also words that were used uniquely, causing me to pause and think harder. […]

Reading Should be Hard – or – An Effective Way to Not Help Your Students

I recently read an article on the internet that fascinated me but was hard reading. I mean I had to go back repeatedly to reread sentences or to refer to the beginning of the paragraph to refocus on the topic. There were also words that were used uniquely, causing me to pause and think harder. […]

The 90 Minute Challenge – You Did It!

Below is the challenge I sent out November of 2016.   By March 1, 2017,  717  teachers had asked to participate.   The overwhelming response: The 90 Minute Challenge made a permanent positive contribution to participants. Teachers agreed their renewed confidence in effective word learning in the classroom meant more words learned and a boost in their commitment […]

3,000 New Words a Year…Is this reasonable?

If you have studied the research on vocabulary acquisition, you’ve probably seen recommendations like this: Students should learn 1000 to 4000 new words a year… You’ve also probably heard statements like this: “The importance of direct vocabulary instruction cannot be overstated.” Marzano  (2014)  http://www.marzanoresearch.com/vocabulary My first reaction to these to statements is disbelief. How in […]

ELL Vocabulary Instruction Basics

The ELL student has more than the average disadvantage when it comes to word learning. Unlike so many of their classmates, these students have not received exposure, from birth, to the English language. They don’t even have the basics. Although many of them have strong comprehension skills in their native tongue, that can’t carry over […]

Emotions Connect

A key ingredient to learning a new word is the connection a student makes with that word to background knowledge. Many of you have stated that your students are so lacking in background knowledge that it is difficult to help them find those connections. Finding emotional connections is the key. If you have looked at […]

The 5 Most Important Characteristics of Any Vocabulary Instruction – Plus 1 more

Marilee Sprenger emphasizes in her new book One Hundred and One Strategies to Make Academic Vocabulary Stick, ”Friday is not the only day that vocabulary is important, though you’d never guess that was the case in many classrooms in 2016. This practice is still pervasive and it must stop. Vocab is important every day. We […]

Engaging Engagement

Many of you have mentioned improved engagement as one of your goals for teaching word knowledge. Although there are great games and activities that help with this (be sure to try out Pyramid WordUp), there are 3 general approaches that can improve any lesson. First, keep in mind that you do not need to teach students […]

Finding Time for Words

We have been taught to see vocabulary as something separate from reading, an add-on, something that takes extra time. However, if words are taught within context, then you are teaching comprehension skills simultaneously, doubling the value of your limited time. Teaching words should not take time away from reading instruction, it should be an integral […]

Vocabulary Tools for K-5

From Jenn’s  blog – at Adventures in Literacy Land  –  a quick and easy Vocabulary Graphic Organizer  which can be used K-5 and across all subject areas. From Cathy’s blog – also in Adventures in Literacy Land – Four Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Roadblocks for K-5