Vocabulary skills are destiny for young children. Students with strong vocabulary skills, usually a result of solid educational foundation, learn faster and succeed. Children lacking vocabulary, especially academic vocabulary and key foundation skills, have trouble learning at the same pace as their peers and they tend towards being students at risk. This blog is a collection of thoughts and notes about what we can and should do about vocabulary instruction.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Vocabulary Matter - SpellingCity Became VocabularySpellingCity
VocabularySpellingCity went through a transition, moving from spelling to vocabulary-building. Here’s the story:.
Our Journey from SpellingCity to VocabularySpellingCity
SpellingCity was how the company was first started. After a while, it emerged that the educational excitement was all about vocabulary. Ironically, at the same time, schools stopped reporting vocabulary scores from the standardized tests and now only comprehension is reported.
In fast, the vocabulary tested was sort of dumb, it really focused on memorized definitions more than core literacy skills so all in all, it's a good switch. But it did sort of fake out many schools who stopped focusing on vocabulary. This turns out to be dumb.
I’m just back from the International Literacy Conference and I was struck my some apparent elementary ELA industry trends:
Games on VocabularySpellingCity.
Principals, literacy coaches, and teachers all seemed to be moving away from basal readers as core curriculum. More often, they are now using them as supplementary materials.
The educational standards are taking center stage as the organizing principle of ELA curriculum. In many cases, they are taking the “One Standard a Week” approach, which everyone knows is an odd way to organize curriculum. Despite that, they like the focus on core skills as defined by the standards.
Many schools are using modified Depth of Knowledge (DOK) approaches with their own interpretations of the DOK.
Words Their Way (WTW) seems to be growing in popularity, although I often heard that they are “taking a WTW approach” but not necessarily trying for a high fidelity implementation.
The role that technology-based solutions can play in ELA is becoming much better understood.
The need for better vocabulary-building strategies is being recognized as a missing link or key strategy to improve reading comprehension and to build overall academic success and reading habits. Several people mentioned the statistic that 70% of reading comprehension problems can be traced to vocabulary issues.