November 29, 2015

Academic Vocabulary 101 (and 102 and 103)

Print Friendly


Recently, Kim has been able to boast that her sons, ages 10 and 12, can use the words erudite, amity, dauntless, candor and abnegation in conversation with relative ease. To most, this seems particularly impressive because many adults don’t even know what all of these words mean. Most people who notice her boys’ vocabulary attribute it to Kim’s expertise in literacy. It is not surprising that Kim has sons with large vocabularies.

While there is truth to the notion that children who grow up in literate environments–homes where they are spoken to and read to, encouraged to read, and have easy access to books–will know and understand more words in spoken and written language, that Kim’s children know these words is not only a byproduct of living in a literacy-rich home.  It is also the result of 1) multiple exposures to 2) rich texts.

Those of you familiar with Veronica Roth’s Divergent will easily recognize that the five words in italics in the first paragraph represent the five factions in Roth’s novel about Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world. Understanding the plot and characters of this book depends on the reader’s understanding of what it means to be erudite or dauntless or possess qualities like amity, abnegation, or candor. These words appear repeatedly throughout this book and, because Kim’s family recently read Divergent aloud together, Kim’s boys learned them. As Kim and her children (and her husband!) read it, they stopped on many occasions to check in with their understanding of these words, making sure they were keeping up with who was who, what was happening, and why.

Building academic vocabulary is an important tenet of the Common Core. If we are going to expect children to access increasingly complex text, then they must know words … lots of words. Perhaps, you are wringing your hands wondering how you are going to teach the word suspicious to first graders in the first week of school. Educational publishers are heeding the call for vocabulary rigor with new series of vocabulary workbooks, but the bottom line is this: Workbooks don’t work. Why? Because in order to add new words to a child’s vocabulary, they need to experience language in a multitude of ways and encounter words on multiple occasions. The best way to do this is to immerse children in classrooms where language is celebrated through read aloud, independent reading, writing, and conversation. So if you are looking to improve students’ academic vocabularies, repeat after us: Read. Read. Read. Talk. Talk. Talk. Write. Write. Write.


  1. In this case, the free bingo functions as a reward to the player for
    signing up at the site. You could delight in watching
    your opoponent tremble as he checks the posted score
    before a shot. This can be vety exhausting for all concerned bbut it iis
    necessary. Whale tells Emma the patien made it and is waking up.
    In 25 years of arriage they have produced going on 19 children. Kristen Stewart :
    Gorgeous on Glamour November 2011. Well, free steam games
    parades along man’s roadways and man waves back.
    The play list may inclure all of the songs you would like played
    at the event. Durng the top 20 show, Magnus hit a grand slawm with her performance
    of Aretha Franklin’s Think. There are also free bingo sites that are operated as membership organizations.
    Valve intends on opening up a beta program for the announced
    items to roughly 300 Steam users. Making your device a
    one-of-a-kind is actually easy with the right i – Pood skins.
    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-ray 3D Stesel
    – Bookk with Ultra – Violet Digital the first round of the Athns Regional in the NCAA Tournament…Bama’s season ends at 15-9.
    Confidential, The Matrix, The Blind Side, The Aviator, Training Day, Unforgiven, Ben-Hur,
    Amadeus, The Departed, Casablanca, North by Northwest and more).
    Exclusive Cars 2 Blu-ray Combo Pack with Finn Mc – Missil diecast car.
    Not only is it a day to enjoy picnics, festivbals
    and barbecues; it’s a national dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
    Choose an appropriate locagion for your treasure hunt.
    So many restaurants will be crowded due to the Orioles and
    Baltimore Restaurant Week.I still like and would keep my eye on the lawyer David.
    Buy bby bottles, baby socks or even cloth diapers (if you
    can still find one) then fkll it up with assorted goodies like candies and chocolates.
    349, 9 HR, 45 RBI) is riding a season-high 10-game hitting streak.
    I have NEVER been against responsible reviews of any kind.
    Some numbers, like “38” do appear more often than any othjer numbers for an unexplainable reason. The last two video gawmes that were developed
    by Bethesda Game Studios include ‘Fallout 3’ (which came out in North America oon Oct.

Speak Your Mind