Saturday, March 30, 2013

Whole Group Reading: Vocabulary

 This week's focus for whole group reading is vocabulary instruction.  This is probably one of the hardest things for me to try to cram into 10 - 15 minutes of my 60 minute block!  

There's so much research that shows how a strong vocabulary helps students become better readers and builds higher comprehension.  So many of our students aren't exposed to higher level vocabulary outside of school, so it's important for us to give them opportunities to learn new words from a variety of content areas.

I teach vocabulary in several ways...  The first is through the Daily Vocabulary Practice book by Weekly Reader.  I found this at a teacher store when I was out of town, but I you can still find it online.  It has a half page for each day of the week, plus a weekly review.  Each week presents a new vocab theme and ties into a lot of my grammar instruction as well.  Right now, my class is finishing up a section of "science words," which is great for tying things into other subject areas.  

The other book I use is the Word A Day by Evan Moor.  This book just goes through a variety of words that students should be familiar with just for common knowledge.  There are different versions of this book for each grade level and it provides a "script" of sorts for each word of the day.  

My student teacher from last spring introduced me to this style of graphic organizer for vocabulary, so I whipped up my own and had our district copy center bind them into books for the students to use.  This is so convenient!  It took the kids a long time to get into this routine at the beginning of the year, but they're seasoned pros now!  (I'd like to get this into a Power Point or something for next year, but we'll see if that project happens this summer or not!)

I sometimes alternate the Word A Day book with content area words or vocabulary from our read aloud books.  I wish we had time to do all of it all the time, but that's just not possible.  (Although sometimes we do write in these journals during out science or social studies times and use them outside of the reading block.)  

You can see in the first picture an example of how I post our words of the week.  I use my super awesome Target pocket charts and Dollar Tree's word strips (I hoard those things) to post the words, adding them as we introduce them.  

I also use the Evan Moor Take It To Your Seat Vocabulary Centers during my work station time.  Those centers have some fun games and activities for vocab practice.  I'm hoping to incorporate more vocabulary work into my work stations next year since I feel so rushed to put it all in during my whole group block.

I hope this gives you some ideas on teaching vocabulary to your students!  I wanted to share my graphic organizer with you, so you can download the file here from Scribd.  (The cover is also included if you want to turn it into a book!)

Next week's post on whole group reading will cover our word wall time!  This was one part of Literacy First that I was initially very reluctant about, but that has ended up being a favorite in my classroom!

Happy Saturday!

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