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Word Consciousness: One Vital Part of a Comprehensive Vocabulary Program Michael F. Graves University of Minnesota, Emeritus Spotlight.

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Presentation on theme: "Word Consciousness: One Vital Part of a Comprehensive Vocabulary Program Michael F. Graves University of Minnesota, Emeritus Spotlight."— Presentation transcript:

1 Word Consciousness: One Vital Part of a Comprehensive Vocabulary Program Michael F. Graves University of Minnesota, Emeritus Spotlight on Vocabulary: Research and Practice From IRA Publications, Corinne Mooney, Chair IRA Convention, Atlanta May, 2008 the placid mommy kitty unreal annoy timid reluctant humungous scowl undignifiedundignified FLAGRANT antidisestablishmentarianism a apathy

2 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn2 Why Vocabulary Instruction Is Important Vocabulary is a hugely important factor influencing success in and out of school. It is central to reading, writing, communicating, and probably thinking. Many students of poverty, students who struggle with reading, and English learners come to school with vocabularies half the size of those of their middle-class classmates (see particularly Hart & Risley, 1995, 2003, on children of poverty). Without help, these students will fall further and further behind.

3 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn3 Why Word Consciousness Is Important The vocabulary learning task is huge: The average seventh grade student probably knows 30,000 words. The average high school graduate probably knows 50,000 words. Acquiring this number of words means learning about 8 words a day. In fact, both of these are underestimates as they do not take into account multiple meanings, proper nouns, or idioms.

4 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn4 Why Word Consciousness Is Not Enough Because the vocabulary learning task is huge, only a multifaceted program is strong enough to help students accomplish the job they face.

5 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn5 A Multifaceted Vocabulary Program From M. Graves. (2006). The Vocabulary Book. New York: Teachers College Press Providing frequent, varied, and extensive language experiences Teaching individual words Teaching word-learning strategies Fostering word consciousness

6 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn6 Word Consciousness-1 word consciousness n awareness of words 2.a positive disposition toward words 3.interest in learning words and learning about words 4.knowledge of various aspects of words

7 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn7 Word Consciousness-2 As noted, the term word consciousness refers to an awareness of and interest in words and their meanings (Graves & Watts, 2002). Word consciousness integrates metacognition about words, motivation to learn words, and deep and lasting interest in words (Anderson & Nagy, 1992). Students who are word conscious will simplify our task as teachers because they will learn a lot of words on their own.

8 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn8 Word Consciousness-3 Although fostering word consciousness differs from grade to grade, doing so is vital at all grade levels. There are some time-consuming word consciousness activities, but for the most part fostering word consciousness does not take a lot of your time or your students time.

9 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn9 Some Types of Word Consciousness Activities Creating a Word-Rich Environment Recognizing and Promoting Adept Diction Promoting Word Play Fostering Word Consciousness Through Writing Involving Students in Original Investigations Teaching Students about Words (Graves & Taffe, 2007)

10 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn10 Creating a Word-Rich Environment-1 Fill the room with books and other material on many topics and many reading levels, and be sure the books contain some new words for all students. Frequently read to students from books that include some new vocabulary. Include lots of discussion of meaty topics that invite sophisticated words. Make the classroom a safe place that invites and rewards experimentation with language and ideas. Include dictionaries and thesauruses for students reading at various levels.

11 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn11 Creating a Word-Rich Environment-2 Include a really good dictionary for English learners like the Collins COBUILD New Students Dictionary or the Longman Study Dictionary of American English. Include books in which words play a central role like DeGlosss Donavans Word Jar, Schotters The Boy Who Loved Words, Clements Frindle, and Justers The Phantom Tollbooth. Include word books for young writers like Babs Bell Hajdusiewiczs Words, Words, Words (for beginning writers) and Words and More Words (for young writers). Ms. Hadleys Wonderful Word Wall is a good example of a wonderfully word-rich classroom. Encourage reading and writing outside of school.

12 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn12 Recognizing and Promoting Adept Diction Can be accomplished in four simple steps: 1.Make it a point to use some sophisticated vocabulary, and sometimes comment on your word choices. 2.Point out adept word choices in the material students are reading, listening to, or viewing. 3.Compliment student on their adept word choices in their discussions and their writing. 4.Have students keep personal notebooks in which they record new and interesting words.

13 13 Promoting Word Play Play commercial games like I Spy, Balderdash, Taboo Junior, and Taboo. Play well-known home-made games like Hangman, Word Bingo, or Dictionary. ( has a nice version of Hangman.) Play newer home-made games like Applause-Applause, Word Associations, and Idea Completion. Engage in word play activities with idioms, clichés, and puns. Use books that employ a lot of word play like Fred Gwynnes The King Who Rained and A Chocolate Moose for Dinner. Use books filled with word play activities like Bernard Mosts Zoodles and Richard Lederers Pun and Games.

14 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn14 Fostering Word Consciousness Through Writing Make vocabulary work a significant part of the writing process. Create writing activities focused on vocabulary.

15 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn15 Make Vocabulary Work a Significant Part of the Writing Process: Focus on Vocabulary During Revising Is this the best word to get across my meaning? Is the word precise enough? Is it appropriately formal or informal? Is it a word my reader will know? Is it a word my reader will find interesting. Have I used it too much? Should I use a synonym?

16 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn16 Create Writing Activities Focusing on Vocabulary Teaching Vocabulary as a Writing Prompt: A procedure based on the work of Duin (Duin & Graves, 1987, 1988) and Beck (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan 2002): Select a set of ten or so words that lend themselves to writing about a particular topic. Involve students in rich and robust activities over several days: Define the words, compare them to other words, examine the contexts in which they do and do not apply, play games with them, etc. Have students write an essay in which they use as many of the words as possible.

17 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn17 A Writing Sample from a Student in Duins Program I think the space program would be more feasible if we sent more than just astronauts and satellites into space. We need to send tourists and change the whole configuration of the space shuttle so that it can accommodate more people. When the tourists are in space, they could fly some of the manned-maneuvering units and retrieve stuff from space. They could maybe even see if other planets are habitable. When the tourists come back they would have the capability of doing anything in space. They truly would be advocates of space. But, in order to make these special missions happen, we will need to add more modules onto our space station.

18 18 Involving Students in Original Investigations Because students are surrounded by words, vocabulary makes and excellent topic of investigation. Some possibilities include: The use of slang versus more formal vocabulary. The vocabulary of different groups: Short order cooks, movie people, hucksters on TV or at fairs. The vocabulary that is appropriate in different settings: School, home, church, the cafeteria. How vocabulary changes over time. (See The use of terms of address such as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr. The use of first names: on TV and in the newspaper, for females versus males, for children versus adults.

19 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn19 An Original Investigation by Two High School Students An investigation by Scott Rasmussen and Derek Oosterman to determine the best means of vocabulary acquisition in high school students. These high school seniors read extensively about vocabulary instruction and hypothesized that learning would be stronger when instruction was (1) continuous and frequent, (2) explicit and active, and (3) incorporated several senses. In one experiment, they tested instruction involving 0, 1, 1, and 2 senses, and those groups scored 42%, 77%, 74%, and 86% respectively.

20 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn20 Teaching Students about Words Some aspects of words that Nagy and Scott (2000, Scott & Nagy, 2004) suggest teachers consider themselves and consider teaching to students: Word learning is incremental. Many words have more than one meaning Word meanings are interrelated. There are various aspects of word knowledge. What it means to know a word varies across types of words. What it means to know a word depends on the needs of the knower.

21 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn21 The Six Types of Word Consciousness Activities Creating a Word-Rich Environment Recognizing and Promoting Adept Diction Promoting Word Play Fostering Word Consciousness Through Writing Involving Students in Original Investigations Teaching Students about Words

22 22 References Anderson, R. C., & Nagy, W. E. (1992). The vocabulary conundrum. American Educator, Winter, 14-18, 44-47. Beck, I. L., & McKeown, M. G. (2001). Text talk: Capturing the benefits of read-aloud experiences for young children. The Reading Teacher, 55, 10-20. Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford Press Collins COBUILD new students dictionary (3rd ed.). Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins. Graves, M. F., & Taffe, S. W. (2007). For the love of words: Fostering word consciousness in young readers. Paper submitted for publication. Graves, M. F., & Watts-Taffe, S. M. (2002). The place of word consciousness in a research-based vocabulary program. In S. J. Samuels & A. E. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (3 rd ed., pp. 140-165). Newark, DE: IRA. Longman Study Dictionary of American English. (2006). Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited. Nagy, W. E. & Scott, J. A. (2000). Vocabulary processes. In M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3, pp. 269-284). New York: Longman. Scott, J. A., & Nagy, W. E. (2004). Developing word consciousness. In J. F. Baumann & E. J. Kame'enui, (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 201-217). New York: The Guilford Press.

23 Mike Graves, Univ of Minn23 Childrens Books Clements, Andrew. (1996). Frindle New York: Scholastic. Degross, Monalisa. (1994). Donavans Word Jar. New York: Scholastic. Gwynne, Fred. (1976). A Chocolate Moose for Dinner. New York: Windmill Books. Gwynne, Fred. (1970). The King Who Rained. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks Haidusiewics, Babs Bell. (1997). Words and More Words. New York: Golden Year Books. Haidusiewics, Babs Bell. (1997). Words Words Words. New York: Golden Year Books. Juster, Norton. (1996). The Phantom Tollbooth. New York: Random House. Lederer, Richard. (1996). Pun and Games. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. Most, Bernard. (1992). Zoodles. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Schotter, Roni. (2006). The Boy Who Loved Words. New York: Schwartz and Wade Books.

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