Teach the vocabulary that has the most potential to affect academic performance and expression. Robust vocabulary instruction builds word-learning strategies and helps students make the new words "their own."
- Learn vocabulary that expands expression, learning, and reading
- Connect words with concepts
Robust vocabulary instruction focuses on the high-frequency words that are most productive for expanding everyday expression, learning, and reading comprehension. These Tier 2 words, a label coined by Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002:
- appear frequently across a variety of subject areas.
- are not part of students' day-to-day vocabulary.
- have rich meaning and connections to other words and concepts.
- add specificity and flexibility to students' expression.
- easily link to other words students already know.
Two decades of research have shown this instruction method is most effective in advancing students' vocabulary growth (Moore, 2011).
The substantive, seven page lessons in Word Feast Elementary use a consistent pattern of reading, thinking, and writing exercises. Each lesson progresses from comprehension to expressive activities and follows this sequence:
- introduction of new words and teaching tips
- questions to activate prior knowledge
- two to four reading passages
- word definitions with examples
- associations activity
- thinking activities like: Finish the Thought, Yes/No Questions, In Your Own Words, Word Webs, Antonyms & Synonyms, Predicting, and more
The age-appropriate chapter topics such as Truth or Myth and Inventions Old and New are mostly curricular. The chapters progress in difficulty regarding general knowledge, readability, and word knowledge.
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- Vocabulary knowledge is strongly correlated to reading comprehension proficiency and school achievement. Children who start school with poorly developed vocabulary skills will, without robust instruction, remain academically behind their peers (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).
- Elaboration techniques for teaching vocabulary skills, such as in-depth teaching of words, making connections to background knowledge, and using words in appropriate/inappropriate contexts, improves vocabulary knowledge for students with learning differences (Ellis, 2002).
- Repeated exposure to vocabulary in a variety of contexts, learning in rich contexts, active engagement in learning tasks, and teaching vocabulary directly and indirectly are methods that improve learning (NRP, 2000).
- Direct instruction that consists of learning individual words and word-learning strategies is effective for building vocabulary (NIFL, 2001).
Word Feast Elementary incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Ellis, E.S. (2002). The clarifying routine: Elaborating vocabulary instruction. Retrieved from http://www.ldonline.org/article/5759
Moore, D.W. (2011). Robust Vocabulary Instruction. Retrieved from http://www.ngsp.net/Portals/0/Downloads/HBNETDownloads/SEB21_0410A.pdf
National Institute for Literacy (NIFL). (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read (3rd ed.). Retrieved from http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/PRFbooklet.pdf
National Reading Panel (NRP). (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction—Reports of the subgroups. Retrieved from www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/upload/smallbook_pdf.pdf