Vocabulary for All: a school-wide literacy initiative Leslie Wesson & Kristie Hall
Vision Statement A successful literacy program is based on standards that promote: rigorous goals instruction across the curriculum assessment collaboration It is our vision that high quality literacy instruction goes beyond test scores and leads students to become life-long readers and learners. “Consistent and powerful beliefs that underlie actions are essential to sustained system and school improvement” (Hirsh, 2009, p. 464).
46% of the school population are Second Language Learners.
“Connecting the school and the community means listening to the community in which the school is situated, so that the individual voices of those students and of that school can be the foundation of the education those students receive” (Edwards, 2001, p. 44)
Research Question What best practices in vocabulary instruction will accelerate literacy learning for all students that can be built upon from year to year, and include both English and Spanish?
Focus of Study To implement high quality vocabulary instruction for all learners (in both English and Spanish) and provide a supportive learning environment throughout the community. Outside School Inside School Application in the “real world” Foundation in vocabulary Meaningful language opportunities “Without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed” (Wilkins as quoted in Milton, 2008, p. 228).
Enhance parents’ and the community involvement
Student will be confident in exploring and applying
WestworthVillage will become more aware of the
languages and vocabulary in their area. “Teachers are increasingly faced with a diverse group of learners in terms of current word knowledge, linguistic background, learning styles, and literacy abilities. It is up to teachers to make word learning enjoyable, meaningful, and effective.” (Blachowicz as quoted in Gambrell, 2007, p. 179)
“It is vitally important that teachers value and build on students’ existing home and community literacy practices in promoting literate competence in school” (Haneda, 343) Impact on Student Learning Academic Benefits Self & Cultural Benefits gains in comprehension deeper meaning in writing strengthened oral language skills additional confidence in language use communicate with others greater sense of learner ownership “According to Stahl and Fairbanks, vocabulary knowledge has been identified as the most important indicator of oral language proficiency” (Wallace, 2008, p. 39)
Contributions to the Comprehensive Reading Program
Supporting Research & Theory Vocabulary “Comprehensive vocabulary instruction includes, frequent and varied language experiences, teaching individual words, and teaching word learning strategies, as well as fostering word consciousness.” (Graves, 2008, p. 186) “Research indicates that knowledge of individual words exists on a continuum ranging from known to unknown.” With each new encounter with a particular word, depth of knowledge increases, moving the word further along the continuum from known to unknown. (Graves, 2008, p. 192) The most important aspect to creating a word-rich environment is that the teacher scaffolds. (Graves, 2008) For word learning to occur, two conditions need to be met: read widely skills to infer (Beck, 2002) English language learners vary widely (Ordonez, Carlo, Snow, & McLaughlin, 2002) “Vocabulary … is the foundation of success in school.” (Akhavan, 2007, p. 4)
Supporting Research Cont. http://professionallyspeaking.oct.ca/december_2004/reviews.asp Parent & Community Connection
Students’ reading outside of school (Haneda, 2006).
When a school includes the community they, “make learning personally relevant to their students” (Haneda, 2006, p. 342).
Teaching tolerance and creating a connection (Edwards, 2001).
Parents influence on child’s knowledge and beliefs (Booth, 2002).
“Literacy can be shared discovery” (Ciotti, 2001, p. 59).
Levels of Involvement Leadership Team Provide: training recourses research lesson demos monitor progress teacher support overall planning Teachers vocabulary instruction information sessions for parents Administration of assessments Librarian: reinforce classroom vocabulary instruction, and support local librarians’ efforts. “Collaboration among educators builds shared responsibility and improves student learning” (Hirsh, 2009, p. 469)
Levels of Involvement Cont. Students Apply knowledge Self-assess Parents/Community Provide support Model Public Libraries: partner with school “Once parents are presented with concrete ideas for getting involved, they often rise to the challenge and serve as important partners in the literacy process” (Booth, 2002).
Steps for Implementation Introduce initiative to leadership team and administrators. Needs assessment Introduce initiative to educators , public librarians, and parents. Plan professional learning based on educators’ feedback. Data meetings to address evaluation of initiative. Gathering of resources and materials. Creation of online resources. Overall evaluation of initiative by all stakeholders. “We need to understand the data of our assessments in relation to vocabulary learning and reflect on this information to tweak our lessons and activities to encourage powerful learning” (Akhavan, 2007, p. 16).
Proposed Professional Learning “Vocabulary knowledge is knowledge; the knowledge of a word not only implies a definition, but also implies how that word fits into the world” (Stahl as quoted in Townsend, 2009, p. 250)
“Any new practice must start with teacher collaboration toward a shared understanding of the foundations of vocabulary learning.” (Berne, 2008, p. 320)
References Akhavan, N., (2007). Accelerated vocabulary instruction: Strategies for closing the achievement gap for all students. New York: Scholastic. Beck, I., McKeown, M., Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford Press. Berne, J., & Blachowicz, C. (2008). What reading teachers say about vocabulary instruction: Voices from the classroom. Reading Teacher, 62(4), 314-323. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Booth, D., & Rowsell, J. (2002). The literacy principal: Leading, supporting and assessing reading and writing initiatives. Markham: Pembroke Publishers. Ciotti, H. (2001). Including parents in the fun: Sharing literary experiences. The English Journal, 90(5),52-59.Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
References Cont. Edwards, S. (2001). Bridging the gap: Connecting school and community with service learning. The English Journal,90(5), 39-44.Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Gambrell, L., Morrow, L., Pressley, M. (2007) Best practices in literacy instruction. New York: Guilford Press. Graves, M., & Watts-Taffe, S. (2008). For the love of words: Fostering word consciousness in young readers. Reading Teacher, 62(3), 185-193. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Haneda, M. (2006). Becoming literate in a second language: Connecting home, community, and school literacy practices. Theory Into Practice, 45(4), 337-345. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Hirsh, S., & Killion, J. (2009). When educators learn, students learn. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(7), 464-469.
References Cont. Manyak, P., & Bauer, E. (2009). English vocabulary instruction for English learners. Reading Teacher, 63(2), 174-176. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Milton, J. (2008). Vocabulary uptake from informal learning tasks. Language Learning Journal, 36(2), 227-237. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Townsend, D. (2009). Building academic vocabulary in after-school settings: Games for growth with middle school English- language learners. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 242-251. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database. Wallace, C. (2008). Vocabulary: The key to teaching English language learners to read. Education Digest, 73(9), 36-39. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
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