Word-learning Applied as a Reading Comprehension Activity

Word learning IS a reading comprehension activity. If you’ve tried to increase your focus on words for a whole month, with The 90 Minute Challenge, keep it up! If you are trading off some comprehension instruction time for word instruction, you are not losing a thing, as long as your students are still thinking deeply […]

Comprehension VS Vocabulary – What does that mean?

When signing up for The 90 Minute Challenge teachers have told me they struggle with finding the time to spend 90 minutes a week on vocabulary. This is what I hear most often: In my reading program I have a pacing calendar or other demands placed on me that do not make room for more […]

Take the one-month Vocab Challenge

90 min/wk on vocab – easy Finding time – hard Can you set aside a month where your literacy instruction focuses more on vocabulary (90 min./wk) and less on comprehension? Putting aside some reading instruction time to focus on more word learning is a challenge full of conflict for teachers and administrators alike. Here’s some […]

Word Walls – They’re not just for beginners!

I love reading new research, especially when it confirms something I already knew. This happens to us teachers a lot, right? How many times have you wanted to shout out, “I’ve been doing that (in secret) all along!” when an educational trend formalizes and becomes something your administrators ask you to implement. For example here’s […]

The Dangerous Allure of Apps

Why are students and teachers attracted to those learning apps? Isn’t it obvious? Just watch how engaged students are when using an online learning game or one of the many fun learning apps available almost for free! Should we question more deeply the value of many of our online learning tools? A recent conversation gave […]

Time to Ramp up Again – Here’s the one thing that will make the most difference this year!

I took a break from blogging this summer. I hope you took a break from planning! However, I bet you couldn’t stop thinking about what you need to do differently, or better, or again this year. My brain also kept spinning, especially since I kept feeding it ideas from research.  Here’s my take-out from this […]

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. […]

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 […]