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					Keys to Student Achievement:
 Best Practices in Teaching


                  Facilitated By:
                 Cheryl Harvey
                Rebecca Radicchi
This session is based in the Vocabulary “Best
Practices” module designed by Metro RESA.
How confident do you feel about
 your vocabulary instruction?
On a scale of 1 – 9, how confident are
 you about your vocabulary instruction?
Place a post-it on the scale on the wall–
 1 is the lowest & 9 is the highest.

 1                  5                                    9

                               Adapted f rom Dale, Rasband, Ross,
                                 Gardner, & Cunningham, 2004
     Essential Questions:
Why is vocabulary instruction so

What are exemplary
 strategies for vocabulary
 A little boy was in a relative’s wedding.
   As he was walking down the aisle, he
 would take two steps, stop, and turn to
  the crowd. While facing the crowd, he
  would put his hands up like claws and
roar. So it went, step, step, ROAR, step,
 step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
As you can imagine, the crowd was near
  tears from laughing so hard. The little
     boy was getting more and more
 distressed from all the laughing, and he
was also near tears. When asked what he
 was doing, the child sniffed and said, “I
         was being the Ring Bear!”
            What level of
      vocabulary knowledge is
  evident in this child’s response?

LEVEL 1    Unknown
LEVEL 2    Acquainted
LEVEL 3    Established

                      Beck, McKeown, & Omanson, 1987
 How do you teach vocabulary?

• Discuss your
  response with a

• Group leader should
  be prepared to share
  with everyone.
 Word knowledge is much more than
word identification or even definitional

     “It takes more than definitional
knowledge to know a word, and we have
to know words in order to identify them
    in multiple reading and listening
 contexts and use them in our speaking
          and writing.” (Allen, 1999)
Research on the importance of
   vocabulary instruction:
 There is an estimated
4,700 word difference in Vocabulary instruction is
 vocabulary knowledge           one of the essential
between high- and low-         elements for literacy
SES. (Nagy and Herman ,1984) development for students
                             “at risk.” ( RAND Reading Study
  For English language            Group, 2002, NRP, 2000)
       learners the
  “achievement gap” is
 primarily a vocabulary
      (Carlo,, 2004)
Word Knowledge is Multifaceted
                 Know it          Know         Have seen or   Do not know
                well, can      something       heard of the    the word
                explain it,   about it, can       word
                  use it      relate it to a






  dyslexia                                 Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002
  Comprehensive Vocabulary
 Rich language learning environment
  ( including Read-Alouds)

• Wide and Varied
  Independent Reading

• Direct Vocabulary
         Reading Aloud
• Students retain more vocabulary
  when the teacher explains critical
  vocabulary terms in context
  during the reading.

• Reading a book several times
  leads to more word learning than
  reading several books once each.
            Reading Aloud
"The single most important
   activity for building the
   knowledge required for
    eventual success in
  reading is reading aloud
         to children."

   (Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985)
   Collaborative Pairs
• What are the advantages of
  reading aloud to students?

• How do read-alouds support
   vocabulary development?
 Comprehensive Vocabulary
• Rich language learning environment
  (including Read-Alouds)

 Wide and Varied Independent

• Direct Vocabulary Instruction
 Reading Volume of 5th-grade Students of
     Different Levels of Achievement

Achievement    Minutes of                                 Words
 Percentile   Reading Per                                  Per
                  Day                                      Year

    90th          40.4                                2,357,000

    50th          12.9                                  601,000

    10th           1.6                                    51,000
                  (Allington, 2001; Adapted from Anderson, Wilson and Fielding, 1988.)
        Independent Reading:
   Accounts for one-third or more of
         vocabulary growth.
• How do you show your
  students that independent
  reading is great & joyful?

• How do you make
  independent reading
  time meaningful?

• What obstacles do you
  need to overcome?
     Center f or the Study of Reading, Urbana, IL
Comprehensive Vocabulary
          • Rich language learning
            ( including Read-

          • Wide and Varied
            Independent Reading

          Direct Vocabulary
     Vocabulary Instruction
 Direct teaching of vocabulary can help improve comprehension when we follow
                         these guidelines (Cooper, 1993):

• A few critical words are taught.
• The words are taught in a meaningful
  context. (including nonlinguistic
• Students relate the new words to their
  background knowledge.
• Students are exposed to the words
  multiple times.
             You Try It!
• Using the text provided, collaborate
  with group members and decide on
  the most important words to teach.

• Provide a rationale for your selection.

• Share!
 “Which words should I teach?”
• Which words are most important to
  understanding the text?
• How much prior knowledge will students
  have about the word/concept?
• Is the concept significant and therefore
  requires previewing?
• Which words can be figured out from the
• How can I make repeated exposures to
  the word/concept enjoyable and
What are exemplary strategies
 for vocabulary instruction?
Background Knowledge
      “The relationship
     between vocabulary
       knowledge and
        knowledge is
     explicit in research.”
     (Nagy & Herman, 1984; Marzano, 2004; Hart & Risley, 1995)
Powerful Zebras

            Word Sorts

• Provide students with a set of
  vocabulary word cards (related to a
  specific concept or topic).
• Work in groups to sort the words into
• Encourage students to find more than
  one category for the vocabulary words.
• Students then discuss with teacher &
  peers their rationale for categorizing
                                         Schwartz & Raphael, 1985

                     What is it?                                    What is it like?
                To move regularly from one
                region to another                                   moving around



people working           birds               Nomads
for seasonal jobs

                             What are some examples?
                  Frayer Model
                 (Frayer, Frederick, & Klausmeier, 1969)

  Definition                                               Characteristics
                                        • Group

a congregation of wild                  • Like animals
animals                                 • Clustered

   Examples                                                Non-Examples
                Frayer Model
               (Frayer, Frederick, & Klausmeier, 1969)

  Definition                                             Characteristics
                                    • 2 is the only even prime number
A whole number with
                                    • 0 and 1 are not prime
exactly two divisors
(factors)                                         •Every whole number
                                                  can be written as a
                            Prime                 product of primes
   Examples                                              Non-Examples

 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17,
                                             1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10. . .
Words        Context     Predicted       Confirm
Nutrition   cereal box Important
                       ingredient in

Ballyhoo     billboard                 To advertise
                             ?           in loud
    NAME               SYMBOL         LABEL         KEY WORD         DEFINITION
                                                                    (OWN WORDS)

                                                                  A plane is a flat
    Plane                                     .B    2-D or Flat   surface like the
                                   .A    .C                       top of my desk.

                                                                  A point has no
    Point                                              Dot        dimension, just a
                         .              .M                        location. Group
                                                                  together to make

                                                                  A line is a set of
     Line                        .K            .L    Straight     points determined
                                                                  by any 2 points.

Line Segment

CRISS (2004) pg. 146
 Reading with Word Explanation
• Read the book/text once with minimal
• After an initial reading, we can interrupt
  up to 8-10 times to explain words while
  rereading (possibly less, depending on
• With very young children, don’t interrupt
  more than once per page.
• Keep explanations simple~ explain only
  what is needed to understand the content
  being read in everyday language.
    Four Square Response
Term                           Illustration


Definition                     Connection

a degree of wetness
especially of the atmosphere
              Concept Circles
                                           Which word does
                                           not belong?

             Rectangle      Hexagon

               Cone          Trapezoid

Why? ___________________________________________________
        racism   stereotyping


Concept: Civil Rights Movement
Vocabulary Strategies for ELL
• Preview texts for unfamiliar or difficult
  words and the use of idiomatic language.
  To reduce students’ frustration, such
  words and expressions can be taught
  prior to the lesson.
• Use extensive modeling and visual
  representations– e.g., pantomime, graphic
  organizers, pictures, hands-on materials.
• Emphasize meaning rather than
                             CORE, 2000
       4-2-1 Summarizer
Four        Two                          One

           Rogers, (1999). Motivation and Learning. . .
Using only a piece of paper and pen, draw
and get your partner to say these words.

       Los Angeles
       New York
Assessing Vocabulary
            • Ongoing
        • Varied, Meaningful
             & Authentic
           Use word wall
         • Do you see them
            using words in
              writing and
How do you keep words you teach
 directly fresh in their minds and
•Vocabulary word review tub
•Center with former words
•Keep ongoing list of words with guided reading
•Use words in classroom talk
•Word wall
Finding definitions and writing
those words in sentences have
 had little apparent impact on
   their word knowledge and
          language use.
          Janet Allen, 1999
Assessing Integration
  & Meaningful Use

Sample “test” questions:
• One of our target words for this week was
  preposterous. What kind of in-school behavior
  would the principal think was preposterous?
• Describe a time when you felt liberated. What was
  the reason for that feeling?
• The concept we have been studying this week is
  stereotyping? Give an example of what you think is
  stereotypical behavior. Why do you think the
   behavior was stereotypical?
When students have been provided dictionary
 definitions and asked to create sentences
 or answer brief questions about the words,
 research has shown:
     • 63 percent of the students’ sentences were
       judged to be “odd” (Miller & Gildea, 1985)
     • 60 percent of students’ responses were
       unacceptable (McKeown, 1991; 1993)
          3 x 3 Vocabulary

word            dictionaries            direct
knowledge                               instruction
reading with   background
explanation                             strategies

Frayer         Nonlinguistic

                Adapted from Guilford County Schools, 2002
     Essential Questions:
Why is vocabulary instruction
 so important?

What are exemplary
 strategies for vocabulary
         Web Resources for
         Vocabulary Practice

•   Vocabulary Builders
•   Super Kids Word Scrambler
•   Online Vocabulary Games
•   Quia (Insert your words)
• Best Practices Research: Metro RESA

• Clipart: Jeff Shelly and Google Images