Teaching Vocabulary: 50 Creative Strategies, Grades K-12

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9780131129665: Teaching Vocabulary: 50 Creative Strategies, Grades K-12

Can you use a book that fills the gap for specific learning needs? Here is an entire volume devoted to the time-tested, classroom-proven ideas that really work with elementary, middle, and high school students—including ESL and other students who have a limited vocabulary and few literacy skills. Each strategy has been successfully used by master teachers who participate in the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project, and authentic student feedback is included. With written-in adaptability and grade-level indicators so that users can address their own specific goals in the classroom, this book comprehensively covers: teaching vocabulary correctly, collecting words, discovering definitions, working with meanings, expanding writing vocabulary, investigating word origins, and word play. An obviously valuable tool for educators, this book is especially appropriate for new or future teachers, teachers of ESL and continuing education, and other curriculum planners. Can also be used by parents who wish to enhance their child's home study.

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About the Author:

Cathy Blanchfield is a secondary teacher in the Fresno Unified School District in Fresno, CA. She has taught middle and high school students from predominantly low socioeconomic neighborhoods. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. in Education, Reading Emphasis, from California State University, Fresno. Cathy serves the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project as a Teacher Consultant and Associate Director.

Gail Tompkins is a professor at California State University, Fresno where she teaches courses in reading and language arts. She is also Director of the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project at CSU Fresno. She is very interested in the history of English and in etymologies of words.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The idea for this book came from teachers who are Teacher-Consultants in the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project in Fresno, California. We began as an informal focus group, discussing standards and how we might address them in our classrooms. As our meetings continued throughout the year, one theme surfaced over and over. We knew we needed to do a better job with vocabulary instruction. Whether we taught elementary school, middle school, or high school, the theme was the same: We need to better meet the needs of students who come to us with limited vocabulary development. A large percentage of our students are English language learners, and others are native English speakers from impoverished neighborhoods and rural areas; their lack of vocabulary development affects both their reading comprehension and their writing proficiency.

Once the need was defined, we set about finding the solution. We read articles and books about vocabulary development, experimented with teaching techniques in our classrooms, and shared stories of our successes. This book is a compilation of our most successful classroom strategies. Each author has taken special care to discuss the steps in preparing and teaching the strategy, explain where this strategy fits into the overall literacy curriculum, and describe how their students responded.

Most of these strategies can be used in a range of grade levels. For your convenience, a grade-level indicator is displayed on the first page of each chapter, showing the range of grade levels for which the strategy is developmentally appropriate. The black squares show the most appropriate grade levels, and the light squares indicate grade levels where the instructional strategy might be adapted and used successfully. In addition, if your students are working above or below grade level, you might find instructional strategies designed for other grade levels to be useful.

An example of a grade level indicator is as follows:

In this example, the strategy is targeted for grades 6 through 9, but could be used from grades 4 through 10 with adaptations.

The San Joaquin Valley Writing Project is part of the National Writing Project (NWP), and there are NWP sites in every state. If you are interested in learning more about the NWP or in joining your local site, contact the National Writing Project through its website at http://www.writingproject.org or call (510)642-0963.

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