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We know from research and classroom experience that there’s a strong correlation between students’ vocabulary and reading comprehension (see, for instance a NAEP study from 2009-2011. Further, we know that students who have rich independent reading lives have large, diverse vocabularies and a wide range of background knowledge to bring to reading, thinking, speaking, writing, and analyzing texts (Beck, McKeown, and Kucan, 2013; Blachowicz and Fisher, 2006).
However, the reality is that you and I teach many students who avoid independent reading, and this affects their vocabulary development. So it’s imperative that we provide excellent and consistent vocabulary instruction in the context of reading units in ELA classes and throughout content areas. In addition, we must explain to students the relationship between independent reading and enlarging vocabulary and keep encouraging them to select books to read at school and at home.
How can we boost students’ word knowledge? Teaching words in groups can increase students’ vocabulary acquisition as well as their excitement about words (Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton, and Johnston, 2011). Instead of focusing on one word at a time, students learn several words at once, and doing this before, during, and after reading can:
- Deepen students’ knowledge of multiple forms of a word and can help them understand how and when to use different forms
- Develops their ability to understand directions
- Links words to their reading and improves comprehension
- Promotes talk about words
- Builds concepts and connections
- Develops a curiosity about words
Each On-Your-Feet Guide is laminated, 8.5”x11” tri-fold (6 pages), and 3-hole punched.
Use the On-Your-Feet Guides
- When you know the “what” but need help with the “how”
- As a quick reference to support a practice you learned in a PD workshop or book
- To learn how to implement foundational practices
- When you want to help your students learn a specific strategy, routine, or approach, but aren’t sure how to do it yourself