Poster_ckillen_ mic Vocabulary Poster - Scholars

Increasing Academic Vocabulary Development
Across the Content Areas
University of Oregon
Carey A. Killen University of Oregon, EDLD 655
The Case for Academic Vocabulary
The Common Core State Standards emphasize literacy in science,
math, social studies, and technical subjects as essential aspects of
college and career readiness. Although concerns over student
reading performance K-12 have inspired considerable attention for
basic literacy development, less attention has been paid to the
development of more advanced literacy skills and the academic
vocabulary that are necessary if students are to comprehend
content-area texts at the secondary level.
Clearly, students need a solid foundation in basic literacy skills if
they are to become successful readers and move from learning to
read to reading to learn. Yet it is not enough to assume that basic
reading instruction will ensure continued development of the more
advanced literacy skills (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008) and
vocabulary that students will need if they are to engage effectively
with academic texts they will encounter in later grades and in life
after high school.
Well-planned professional development focused on developing an
understanding of literacy and specific strategies for fostering
vocabulary development can be key to ensuring that students
increase their disciplinary literacy school wide.
Professional Development Timeline
School Setting
Free and Reduced Meals
Special Education
Talented and Gifted
English Language Learners
Many of the strategies for vocabulary development detailed below
are drawn from recommended strategies for English Language
Development associated with Sheltered Instruction Observation
Protocol (SIOP), but can be effective with all students, particularly
those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Instructional Strategies for Vocabulary Development
 Manipulatives for ordering, categorizing, showing relationships
 Providing a context for specific uses of vocabulary
 Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS) (Ruddell, 2005)
 Concept Definition Map
 Total Physical Response activities
Vocabulary is a key element of reading comprehension. Students
entering our school system have large differences in their vocabulary,
correlated in part with their socio-economic status, a factor that may
contribute to differing amounts of exposure to vocabulary-rich
environments (Hart & Risley, 1995).
Vocabulary plays a key role in students’ ability to read and to
comprehend what they read at all stages of literacy development as
outlined by Shanahan and Shanahan (2008):
Basic Literacy: Literacy skills needed for decoding and understanding high-frequency words found in almost all reading tasks.
Intermediate Literacy: General comprehension strategies and basic
fluency needed for most common reading tasks
Disciplinary Literacy: Specialized reading skills needed in different
content areas—science, math, history, literature, and others.
 Drawing, Defining, Using
 Personal Dictionaries
 Word Walls
 Vocabulary Games
 Self-Assessment of Vocabulary Comprehension
 Sentence Strips, Cloze Sentences
 Music, rhymes, mnemonic devices
 Graphic Organizers such as Frayer Model:
New Word
Intermediate Literacy
Basic Literacy
If students are to develop the level of literacy indicated in the
Common Core State Standards in different subject areas, targeted
instruction in subject-specific, academic vocabulary may play an
important role in their reading skill development, particularly for
students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Student- and instructor-generated tools
Songs, rhymes, chants
Vocabulary Games
Videos for wiki, youtube
and school website
Mnemonic Devices
Contact Information
For more information contact Carey Killen at [email protected]
2. Establish School Wide Goals including:
Development of a common set of instructional strategies
increased student comprehension of academic vocabulary
Increased strategies for students to use now and in future
Specific assistance for diverse populations
4. Provide training in specific instructional strategies bi-weekly
for vocabulary development:
10-20 minute session led by instructor from each content
Expected follow-up implementation and debrief
 Degrees of Intensity Diagram
1. Build Common Understanding.
What do we know about our students’ reading performance?
What does the research indicate about vocabulary and
What literacy skills do the Common Core State Standards
require of students and what role does vocabulary play in
the development of those skills?
What type of vocabulary must students comprehend if they
to engage effectively with content-area grade level texts
and typical activities in our school?
3. Establish a Context for Instructor Involvement
Develop an understanding of literacy development across the
school including: assessment of literacy skills, identification of
student needs, the role of targeted interventions. the role of
classroom strategies across the school.
 Word Generation
 Focus on Academic Word List
Professional development for Academic Vocabulary Development will complement our
ongoing professional development related to student engagement since many of the
strategies included enhance student engagement and can be used to teach
other skills and content.
5. Establish
of Key Academic Terms
Analyse: Common
data to reach conclusions.
Give a judgment based on a given statement or result of a calculation.
Baccalaureate Diploma Programme:
Give an account of similarities and differences between two (or more)
items, referring to both (all) of them throughout.
Represent or develop in graphical form.
Reach a conclusion from the information given.
Give an account including, where possible, a range of arguments for and
against the relative importance of various factors, or comparisons of
alternative hypotheses.
6. Ensure Ongoing Access to Models and Support
Pairing of colleagues
Online bank of examples
Online videos of short trainings
Peer observation or guest teacher opportunities
Handbook of strategies
7. Establish Process for Orienting New Staff through
expectations for explicit vocabulary instruction and access to
school wide tool kit, peer observation, and video modules.
Home-School Connection
Ongoing communication with families about our school wide goals,
including our efforts related to vocabulary development form a key part of
our plan. Information on our school website, in newsletters, and in written
materials will provide suggestions, activities, and online resources for
families to support their children’s learning at home.
Resources Needed
Most of the activities can be accomplished at little financial cost to the
school. However, a commitment to spend time establishing common
understandings and for gathering, disseminating, and practicing the
strategies is essential.
--3 hours (one person) to gather data, research, and multiple strategies
--3 hours (all instructors) for Introductory Session, Goal-Setting,
Initial Strategies
--Bi-weekly 10-15 minute session (all instructors) on specific
vocabulary strategy
--Time (all instructors) devoted to implementing strategies in classrooms
Personnel (Volunteers or Instructional Leaders)
--Leader for Introductory Session and Goal-Setting
--Individual instructors to lead strategy sessions
--One staff member to maintain wiki and gather strategies
--One staff member to videotape teachers modeling strategy
Additional Resources
--Printing costs for strategy sessions and written information to send to
families ($100-$200)
--Video equipment (available on site)
--Website (school website available, additional wiki at no cost)
Anticipated Student Results
Increased student comprehension Formative assessments, formal
of and use of academic vocabulary content-area assessments
addressing vocabulary, reading,
and writing
Improved reading comprehension
Standardized test scores (ACT,
Increased understanding and
independent use of vocabulary
development strategies
Anticipated Teacher Results
Student self-assessment, Teacher
Development and consistent use of Results of Teacher survey
strategies and online tools for
vocabulary development
Increased teacher peer observation Data from Observations
Increased use of student-centric
online tools
Results of online teacher survey
and online student survey.
Increased attention to diverse
Results of online teacher survey
and online student survey
Echevarría, J., Vogt, M., Short, D.J. (2008). Making Content Comprehensible for English Learners:
The SIOP® Model. Pearson: San Francisco.
Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe. The 30 million word gap. American Educator.
27(1), 4-9.
International Baccalaureate Organization. (2007). Diploma Programme Biology Guide. IBO: Cardiff.
Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2008). Teaching disciplinary literacy to adolescents: Rethinking
content-area literacy. Harvard Educational Review. 78 (1), 40-59.
Sibold, C. (2011). Building English Language Learners' Academic Vocabulary: Strategies and Tips.
Multicultural Education. 18(2), 24-28.
Sobolak, M. J. (2011). Modifying robust vocabulary instruction for the benefit of low-socioeconomic
students. Reading Improvement. 48(1), 14-23.
Wagner, R. K., Muse, A. E., Tannenbaum, K. R. Eds. (2007). Vocabulary Acquisition: Implications for
Reading Comprehension. Guilford Press: New York.

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