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Vocabulary

What's good for ELLs is good for all

If you follow us on Twitter, you know that I was in Chicago at a conference sponsored by the Center for Development and Learning. I've got lots to share from the conference; there were several great speakers and exhibitors. Many attendees came by the Reading Rockets booth to tell me that they use the site all the time, especially our Parent Tips.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Jokes and riddles.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Banana.
Banana who?
Banana in my cereal.

Yep. That's our six year old at the dinner table. She so desperately wants to make up her own side-splitting knock knock jokes, but she's not quite there yet. She loves jokes and all things silly, but she's just not at the point of being able to come up with her own word play to make up a (really) funny one.

Mindful of Words

I recently reviewed Mindful of Words, Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations 4-8 by Kathy Ganske.

The book is a great resource for teachers and tutors who work with upper-level spellers. Based in developmental spelling research and vocabulary learning, the book helps teachers understand how to assess students' word knowledge and how to teach in a way that encourages a love of words.

Teaching vocabulary

A few weeks ago I blogged about a kindergarten lesson where the students were confused by the word pause, thinking the teacher meant applause or paws. I promised that teacher I'd send her some materials about vocabulary development with second language learners. I thought I'd share some of the resources I like.

Pause for applause and paws

I was lucky enough to spend a morning last week at an elementary school in New York City. I was there watching a choreographer prepare two classes of kindergartners for a field trip. The classes were going to watch an interpretive dance, and this artist was helping the students understand how dancers use their bodies to convey meaning.

The lesson moved along just as you might envision: some giggles, lots of bumping into each other, more giggles, and a few students unwilling to 'walk with their knees.'

Is that awkward?

My daughter Molly loves words — she always has. Her latest "game" (which is driving Anna crazy) is so much like the procedure for vocabulary development recommended in Bringing Words to Life that I wonder if she hasn't read the book herself!

I walked into the kitchen last night to hear this conversation between Molly and Anna:

Talk to your baby, narrate what you're doing, talk to your baby, words, words, words!

I usually skip over Sunday's USA Weekend section, heading straight for the Wall Street Journal business section (sounds dull, but there's a column I love!). One week USA Weekend ran a light, but good article, called Baby Talk. In it, Kelly Dinardo identified 15 things parents should do for their baby. In addition to important things such as dosing properly and developing baby's sleep habits, Dinardo addressed the importance of talking to your baby.

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"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges