Vocabulary

August 24, 2012

Some school districts opened this week, more are scheduled for next week. Children may be apprehensive or excited or somewhere in between. Books and a chuckle are a good way to provide a common experience and a fine way to break the ice at the start of the school year.

Blake is exceptional in every way. Not only did this long green snake spell out his name when presented as a gift...

August 3, 2012

C.S. Lewis once said, "Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." I couldn't agree more.

Long ago, I lived in Cambridge (Massachusetts), a city in which both activities "combine admirably." Not only is it a place where lots of writers and artists live, it has loads of bookstores and was once the home of Julia Child, renowned cook, cookbook author, and the first...

June 27, 2012

One way to help a child do well in school (and life!) is to help them build their vocabulary. Beginning readers use knowledge about words to help them make sense of what they're reading. The more words a reader knows, the more they are able to comprehend what they're reading or listening to. There's an important link between vocabulary and comprehension.

Educational Leadership's June...

February 28, 2012

Pre-reading activities, the things teachers plan and do before reading a text, happen almost every day in elementary school. Pre-reading activities seek to improve a child's comprehension of a text by activating prior knowledge, and by providing time to pre-teach concepts or vocabulary students will encounter in a text. Pre-reading activities can be informal and quick, or they can be more...

October 18, 2011

Many elementary teachers use word walls in the classroom. A word wall is an organized collection of words displayed in a classroom. Word walls provide easy access to words students need. The specific organization of the word wall will match the teacher's purpose: sight words organized by alphabet letter, unit-specific words, new vocabulary words, etc. The most helpful word walls grow and...

June 20, 2011

Recently my daughter came home really worried about an upcoming math test. They were studying the U.S. and metric systems of measurement, and Molly was really confused! She just couldn't seem to grasp the relationship between meters and yards, or liters and cups. She had a stack of flash cards to study by, but they really didn't make any sense to her.

Thankfully, Scholastic's site...

October 8, 2010

A recent New York Times article reveals that picture books are no longer as popular as they once were; that sales are down, that parents are often looking to chapter books to propel their children forward educationally, perhaps for what is considered more sophisticated literary or...

September 8, 2010

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits is a timely reminder about a few techniques that can reliably improve how much a student learns from studying. Techniques include alternating study environments, spacing study sessions, self testing, and mixing content....

February 19, 2010

Once there were word webs to explore synonyms with children.

Now there is a neat website called Visuwords, an online thesaurus and dictionary. It's fun to see words bounce and connect. There's even color...

February 17, 2010

The vocabulary section of the Reading Rockets site contains lots of great resources and information about vocabulary instruction. Thanks to good research, it's now clear that teachers can grow kids' vocabularies through (1) a careful selection of words to teach, and (2) instructional routines that provide practice with new words in...

August 19, 2009

Teaching by Listening, a study from the July 2009 journal Pediatrics, is all about the contribution of adult-child conversations to a child's language development. This piece, along with other research...

March 26, 2009

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...

November 12, 2008

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.

The...

September 29, 2008

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...

February 26, 2008

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.

Our sister site, Colorin Colorado...

February 13, 2008

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:...

December 13, 2007

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...

January 4, 2007

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...

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"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo