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Tracy Tarasiuk 1 Building and Retaining New Vocabulary for Middle Grade Students Middle Matters Institute Tracy Tarasiuk, IRA 2007,

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Presentation on theme: "Tracy Tarasiuk 1 Building and Retaining New Vocabulary for Middle Grade Students Middle Matters Institute Tracy Tarasiuk, IRA 2007,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tracy Tarasiuk 1 Building and Retaining New Vocabulary for Middle Grade Students Middle Matters Institute Tracy Tarasiuk, IRA 2007, Toronto Canada

2 Tracy Tarasiuk 2 Look up your vocabulary words and write down the definition. Look up your vocabulary words and write down the definition.

3 Tracy Tarasiuk 3 Sure they had the correct definitions, but it took forever, and they were bored to tears. -Otten, A.S.C. (2003). Defining moment: Teaching vocabulary to unmotivated students. The English Journal, vol. 92, pp Sure they had the correct definitions, but it took forever, and they were bored to tears. -Otten, A.S.C. (2003). Defining moment: Teaching vocabulary to unmotivated students. The English Journal, vol. 92, pp

4 Tracy Tarasiuk 4 Vocabulary study could be an effective means of improving students comprehension, but… …reading comprehension is not affected when students are provided word definitions. …reading comprehension is not affected when methods are used that provided two or less meaningful exposure to words. Stahl, S.A, & Fairbanks, M.M. (1986). The effects of vocabulary instruction: A model-based meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 56, pp Vocabulary study could be an effective means of improving students comprehension, but… …reading comprehension is not affected when students are provided word definitions. …reading comprehension is not affected when methods are used that provided two or less meaningful exposure to words. Stahl, S.A, & Fairbanks, M.M. (1986). The effects of vocabulary instruction: A model-based meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 56, pp

5 Tracy Tarasiuk 5 Dictionary definitions often contain unfamiliar vocabulary. Agriculture: the science or occupation of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock. -Websters intermediate dictionary -McKeown, M.G. (1985). The Acquisition of word meaning from context by children of high and low ability. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, pp Scott, J.A., & Nagy, W.E. (1997). Understanding the definitions of unfamiliar verbs. Reading Research Quarterly, 32, pp

6 Tracy Tarasiuk 6 Glossary definitions contain little information Agriculture: the business of farming -McKeown, M.G. (1985). The Acquisition of word meaning from context by children of high and low ability. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, pp

7 Tracy Tarasiuk 7 If students struggle with the text, context will not be helpful. Agriculture, or the business of farming, was the major way of life in the English colonies. -McKeown, M.G. (1985). The Acquisition of word meaning from context by children of high and low ability. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, pp Harmon, J. M., Hedrick, W. B., & Fox, E. A. (2000). A content analysis of vocabulary instruction in social studies textbooks for grades 4-8. The Elementary School Journal, 100, pp

8 Tracy Tarasiuk 8 Use the content areas as a means of improving reading ability through vocabulary instruction. WHY?

9 Tracy Tarasiuk 9 Why focus vocabulary instruction in the content areas? Students become better readers as their vocabulary grows. Systematic processing of text becomes less strenuous, when they can concentrate on the text instead of individual words. Students become better readers as their vocabulary grows. Systematic processing of text becomes less strenuous, when they can concentrate on the text instead of individual words. Stanovich, K. E.. (1980). Toward an interactive-compensatory model of individual differences in the development of reading fluency. Reading Research Quarterly, 1,

10 Tracy Tarasiuk 10 Why focus vocabulary instruction in the content areas? As students read more their vocabulary grows. Good readers are more adept at learning new words incidentally through reading. So, for average and struggling readers instruction needs to be more direct and explicit. As students read more their vocabulary grows. Good readers are more adept at learning new words incidentally through reading. So, for average and struggling readers instruction needs to be more direct and explicit. Swanborn, M.S.L., & Glopper. (1999). Incidental word learningwhile reading: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 3,

11 Tracy Tarasiuk 11 Why focus vocabulary instruction in the content areas? Content area textbooks contain vocabulary that, students need to process at higher cognitive levels in order to internalize meanings …effective teachers of reading stressed higher level thinking skills in addition to lower level skills. Content area textbooks contain vocabulary that, students need to process at higher cognitive levels in order to internalize meanings …effective teachers of reading stressed higher level thinking skills in addition to lower level skills. -Harmon, J. M., Hedrick, W. B., & Fox, E. A. (2000). A content analysis of vocabulary instruction in social studies textbooks for grades 4-8. The Elementary School Journal, 100, pp Taylor, B.M., Pearson, D.P., Peterson, D.S. & Rodriguez (2003). Reading growth in high-poverty classrooms: The influence of teacher practices that encourage cognitive engagement in literacy learning. The Elementary School Journal, 104, pp.3-28

12 Tracy Tarasiuk 12 Why focus vocabulary instruction in the content areas? The fourth grade slump. The size of students vocabularies almost doubles between 3rd grade and middle school. The fourth grade slump. The size of students vocabularies almost doubles between 3rd grade and middle school. -Jenkins, J.R., & Dixon, R. (1983). Learning vocabulary. Contemporary Educational Psychologist, 8,

13 Tracy Tarasiuk 13 Why focus vocabulary instruction in the content areas? Textbook publishers still rely on traditional activities such as writing definitions, matching, and fill-in-the blanks activities that the research does not support. Textbook publishers still rely on traditional activities such as writing definitions, matching, and fill-in-the blanks activities that the research does not support. -Harmon, J. M., Hedrick, W. B., & Fox, E. A. (2000). A content analysis of vocabulary instruction in social studies textbooks for grades 4-8. The Elementary School Journal, 100, pp

14 Tracy Tarasiuk 14 How can we focus on vocabulary instruction in the content areas with… …limited time? …ineffective textbook exercises? …so much other material to cover? How can we focus on vocabulary instruction in the content areas with… …limited time? …ineffective textbook exercises? …so much other material to cover?

15 Tracy Tarasiuk 15 Use Word Walls in the upper grades

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18 Tracy Tarasiuk 18 Learning new words is a complex process. Incrementality Polysemy Multidimensionality Interrelatedness Heterogeneity Learning new words is a complex process. Incrementality Polysemy Multidimensionality Interrelatedness Heterogeneity Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.),Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum

19 Tracy Tarasiuk 19 INCREMENTALITY-Words are learned over time, not by defining, quizzing and moving on. Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.),Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates. Words remain on the word wall throughout the year. Their meanings are defined and refined as new words are added. Learning New Words is a Complex Process

20 Tracy Tarasiuk 20 POLYSEMY-Words have more than one meaning. Sometimes these meanings are related. Sometimes meanings are not connected at all. GeographyWestward ExpansionOhio River Valley POLYSEMY-Words have more than one meaning. Sometimes these meanings are related. Sometimes meanings are not connected at all. GeographyWestward ExpansionOhio River Valley Learning New Words is a Complex Process -Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

21 Tracy Tarasiuk 21 MULTIDIMESIONALITY Does a word appear with other words? Relationships between/among words. Learning new labels for known concepts. MULTIDIMESIONALITY Does a word appear with other words? Relationships between/among words. Learning new labels for known concepts. Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Learning New Words is a Complex Process

22 Tracy Tarasiuk 22 INTERRELATEDNESS -Meaning can be derived through the interconnectedness of meaning. Words should not be taught in isolation. Learning New Words is a Complex Process Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

23 Tracy Tarasiuk 23 HETEROGENEITY- Words require different kinds of learning depending on the kind of word. Social Studies gives a great opportunity to build new vocabulary knowledge using known vocabulary. Learning New Words is a Complex Process Nagy, W.E. & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson P.D. & Barr, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (pp ).Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

24 Tracy Tarasiuk 24 Three types of content-area vocabulary: 1. General-independence, revenge 2. Technical-map key, timeline 3. Domain Specific-Declaration of Independence 1. General-independence, revenge 2. Technical-map key, timeline 3. Domain Specific-Declaration of Independence

25 Tracy Tarasiuk 25 Setting this up in a Content Area Classroom Choose words based on the students knowledge. Do not rely on the publishers bolded words only. Inconsistencies were evident when important words were chosen by teachers and compared to those chosen by publishers. Choose words based on the students knowledge. Do not rely on the publishers bolded words only. Inconsistencies were evident when important words were chosen by teachers and compared to those chosen by publishers. -Harmon, J. M., Hedrick, W. B., & Fox, E. A. (2000). A content analysis of vocabulary instruction in social studies textbooks for grades 4-8. The Elementary School Journal, 100, pp


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