Friday, June 14, 2013

NERDS - Word Nerds that is!!!!

I know, I'm late, but I just got my book in late yesterday (Thursday 6/13/13), and haven't gotten a chance to start reading till today.  Here goes nothing.

So of course, like most books - Chapter 1 starts off with why is vocabulary instruction important. We all know the obvious - so we understand what we are reading, but there is more.  One thing that is said in the beginning of the book that really stuck with me was the authors quote from research done by Keith Stanovich (1986) where he hypothesized that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" because the vocabulary gap often actually widens as students advance through school.  Well doesn't this make sense.  As our student age, the ones who have the ability to "see the World" do, and get to add that rich vocabulary, while our ones who can't go out and do things, miss that vocabulary and fall further behind.  But how are we suppose to fill all those gaps?  Why doesn't the definition, picture, use your own word, and put it in a sentence for us work?  Why can't they take the word we give them and use them in their writing and conversations? Maybe the same reason spelling words don't work (or at least didn't for me), they memorize them while they have to, but 3 months down the line, can't remember to save their lives.  So what now?  Where do we go?  How do we incorporate?

Here what Research has told them:
    1.  Some words are more important to teach than others!
           -  No I'm not talking cuss words (what teacher would want to teach those)
           -  I'm talking those high frequency words that will be used across all subjects
    2. Students have to learn words at more than one level (They need to know them deeply)
    3.  Students learn words when they experience them multiple times
          - Hello!!! Ding Dong!!!  The light went on, the door opened.  We don't expect our kids to learn
            their multiplication facts in one sitting, what is the difference with new words.
    4.  Asking student to look up words and write definitions from the dictionary DOESN'T HELP!
          - WHAT???? WAIT A MINUTE!!!! That is what we have always done, why not.
          -  Disclaimer - if it is a student friendly dictionary using everyday language, it cold help
                  -  OKAY - I get it now. (Sorry for the commentary, but this is fun)
    5.  Word Schemas - Can we say Context Clues
         - Patterns to connect meanings of words
         - Infering word meaning from context clues in a story
    6.  Students can learn some words through use of wide reading.
         - What make them read more......SHHHHH - don't tell my students, but I may have to increase
              their homework to include more reading.
        - Reading a wide range of books (Vocarious Reading )
    7. Students can learn through rich conversations with adults and peers
        - Oh No.....You mean I should let the talk more.....If I must.   Maybe I should join in on the 
          conversation to facilitate that rich conversations.  "Get in the Pool"
    8.  Students can learn some words through play
       -  Play - We don't do that in 6th Grade - maybe playing with words through song and art will be
   9.  Students can learn SOME words by direct instruction
       -  Okay everyone, that says SOME, not all.
 10.  Most students need word - learning strategies to become successful readers.

Now all we have to do is start a Systematic way of Teaching Vocabulary, and I know at least for me, figuring out how to incorporate it in with all the other things I must teach.  However, if it will really allow my students to improve their learning, then maybe something else needs to be lessened to focus on Vocabulary instruction.  More to come with Chapter 2 and how that Systematic Way of Teaching Vocabulary works - The meat and potatoes.

Till next week, I hope you understood my notes.  Also, don't forget to link up with Sabra at Teaching with a Touch of Twang to see what she and others have to say about Chapter 1.  Just click on the Word Nerds Button Below.


  1. Girl you are too cute! Love them commentary! I also love that you quoted Teach like a PIRATE! I'm reading that book right now and LOVE it! Great post and thanks for linking up! Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of the book :o)

    Teaching with a Touch of Twang

  2. Great review! Thanks...I feel like I read it myself. ;)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  3. I loved your commentary too! Girl after my own heart :)

    I'm now following you because...well, I just really loved that commentary! :)