Created with Sketch.
The Word Conscious Classroom
22 minutes | Nov 24, 2018
Episode 31: Metalinguistic Awareness and Grammatical Awareness in Action
How does teaching parts of speech enhance word consciousness and ones ability to solve analogies? Well, the more one knows about words, the more word consciousness he or she will gain. This means that a close look at English grammar needs to happen within a word conscious classroom. The teaching of Grammar is beneficial on many levels. For example, by understanding the parts of speech, students learn the role or function of the word, which in turn helps to enhance their metalinguistic awareness. According to Zipke (2008), Metalinguistic awareness is “the ability to objectify language and dissect it as an arbitrary linguistic code independent of meaning” (p. 128). Hence, if we want students to be adept with diction, then they must understand how to pronounce words, what words mean, and what is its grammatical function. Teaching Grammar does not have to be boring. Rightfully, Michael Clay Thompson reminds us to remember that Grammar is cool and it is very learnable. Hence, I’ve been interweaving Grammar into my literacy instruction. In addition to Thompson’s claim, Tunmer, Herriman, and Nesdale found that “young children’s awareness of grammatical structure predicts their later reading performance” (p. 567). Moreover, “young children who are grammatically aware will be better able to monitor their comprehension of text as they read” (pp. 567 & 568). Based on these premises alone, explicit teaching of grammar is expected in a word conscious classroom. In this episode, you will hear me giving the students a grammar lesson with a focus on prepositional phrases. I have been working on this grammatical skill for about three days and on the third day, the students finally started understanding the concept of the prepositional phrase. Phillips submitted that students can learn grammar easily by way of prepositional phrases. I don’t have enough evidence to accept or reject her premise, nonetheless, I plan to continue using her approach through out this academic year. Stay tuned! More episodes with Grammar instruction are in the making. Reference: Bainbridge, J., Malicky, G., Lang, L., & Heydon, R. (2011). Constructing meaning: Balancing elementary language arts. Brantford, Ont: W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library. Phillips, W. C. (1995). Easy grammar. Scottsdale, Az: ISHA Enterprises Tunmer, W. E., Herriman, M. L., & Nesdale, A. R. (1988). Metalinguistic abilities and beginning reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 23(2), 134-158. Zipke, M. (2008). Teaching metalinguistic awareness and reading comprehension with riddles. The Reading Teacher, 62(2), 128-137. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.pgcc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.pgcc.edu/docview/203282772?accountid=13315
22 minutes | Nov 17, 2018
Episode 30: Specific Word Learning
For the majority of my teaching career, I have been teaching vocabulary using the specific word learning technique. According to the Vocabulary Handbook, this technique falls under intentional vocabulary teaching. Hence, many of the passages from our anthologies and basal readers utilize specific word learning as an intentional instructional approach to teaching vocabulary. Based on the figure above, vocabulary instruction is generally centered around specific word instruction and word-learning strategies. Still, according to Stahl and Nagy (2006), the majority of the words that students learn are incidental. Hence, in order to build word consciousness, there should be a balance between incidental vocabulary learning and intentional vocabulary teaching. “Vocabulary is closely associated not just with intelligence, but also with knowledge” (Stahl and Nagy, 2006). Hence, when vocabulary is taught, then students are given the gift of knowledge and power, what Foucault called, Power/Knowledge. Reference: Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes. Stahl, S. A., & Nagy, W. E. (2006). Teaching word meanings.
27 minutes | Nov 10, 2018
Episode 29: Reading like Detectives – Using the Elements of Thought while Reading
Teaching students to pay attention to text is what I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on lately. It has been my experience that students have been over-taught how to decode words, and under-taught how to figure out what the author is doing with those words and with the text. As I am teaching students how to close read text, I try to employ the Elements of Thought, an approach to reading text created by The Foundation for Critical Thinking. In order to promote close reading and using the elements of thought, I started using the Reading Detective Series with students. This series “uses highly-effective, literature-based critical thinking activities to develop the analysis, synthesis, and vocabulary skills students need for exceptional reading comprehension. The activities are especially effective at helping students understand challenging critical reading concepts such as making inferences, drawing conclusions, determining cause and effect, using context clues to define vocabulary, and making predictions and generalizations“. As students are learning to read closely, they are also learning how to set a purpose for reading, figuring out the question that the author is attempting to answer, gleaning important information from the text, making inferences, learning new concepts, thinking about the assumptions that the author is making, and deciphering the author’s point of view. In this episode, you will hear students doing a close reading of a passage in order to determine the important elements from the text. Listen at how students are learning to pay attention to “everything” that the author is doing.
31 minutes | Nov 3, 2018
Episode 28: R.O.P.E. Strategy for Analogy Instruction
A few years ago, I went to a professional development workshop on using Analogies for teaching gifted learners. The presenter provided a strategy entitled R.O.P.E. which stands for Relationships, Order of words, Part of speech, and Exactness. I was fascinated by this strategy and I started using it with my students. Analogies have not always been easy for me to teach. I first attempted to teach my students analogies back in 1998. I had a Grade Four classroom, and I wanted to challenge my students in ways that my teachers have not challenged me. For me, analogies were a form of chaos because I did not know how to think about them and I didn’t understand how the words represented relationships. I can remember taking the Miller’s Analogies Test and performing like an intellectually challenged person on the test. It was experiences like these in my life that reinforced my inferiority complex. Nonetheless, going to the professional development workshop on analogies helped me to turn my chaos with analogies into order. When I first attempted to teach analogies, I purchased a workbook of analogies, and proceeded to make a class set of analogy practice packets. After reading the instructional directions, I attempted one lesson from the packet with my students. The lesson BOMBED! Needless to say, as a result of that experience, it took me years to get comfortable again with solving analogies, much less teaching them. Thanks to the ROPE Strategy, the students that I am teaching now are more willing to engage with analogies while gaining confidence in solving them. To help my students understand how to use the ROPE Strategy, I created a supplementary handout that I used in conjunction with the ROPE handout in my analogy workshops. By using the ROPE strategy, my students are getting stronger with analogies, and in this week’s podcast episode you will hear my introductory lesson on the ROPE Strategy. As the school year proceeds, you will be able to continue experiencing this strategy with my students as we are closely exploring relationships, word order, and parts of speech. https://theliteracybutler.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/giphy-1.mp4
26 minutes | Oct 20, 2018
Episode 26: Unlocking Text with Morphological Study
As I set up my classroom for word study, I consulted the Growing Words: Word Part Instruction Guide. Before I introduced the Word Part of the Week, I wanted to introduce Latin and Greek Roots to my students in a creative way. I started looking online for materials that would set the stage for teaching Latin and Greek Roots and I came across a resource on Teachers Pay Teachers entitled Common Core Story of Greek Roots . I used this resource to help my students understand that many of our English words have parts that are based on Latin and Greek meanings. Rasinski, et. al. (2011), stated, “90 percent of English words with more than one syllable are Latin based. Most of the remaining 10 percent are Greek based. A single Latin root generates 5-20 English words.” Given this fact, it is obligatory for all teachers to carve out some time within the instructional day to provide direct instruction on Latin roots. What is more, the students’ understanding of Latin and Greek roots is a better predictor of reading comprehension than their vocabulary level (Rasinski, et. al., 2011). Based on this fact alone, I don’t feel bad spending 50 percent of my instructional time during small group reading instruction, teaching word analysis. In this episode, you will hear me reading aloud The Story of Greek Roots in order to get my students acclimated to Latin/Greek Derivations of words. References: Rasinski, T. V. (2011). Greek & Latin roots: Keys to building vocabulary. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Rasinski, Timothy V.; Padak, Nancy; Newton, Joanna; Newton, Evangeline (2011). The Latin-Greek Connection: Building Vocabulary through Morphological Study Reading Teacher, v65 n2 p133-141
25 minutes | Oct 13, 2018
Episode 25: Teaching Students about Compound Words
In a previous post, I wrote about encouraging students to look inside of words for spelling patterns. In this week’s post, I am directing students to look inside of words again, but this time we are focusing on smaller words, words that are considered Anglo-Saxon base words. I then explain to students that a compound word is a word made up of two smaller words. Last year, I went to an Orton-Gillingham training session and at that session, I learned to use compound words as an entry point for advanced word study and phonics training. As children are learning the rudimentary rules of sound-symbol association, they are being primed for a more advanced level of decoding. The image below illustrates the decoding-spelling continuum. “A compound word is generally composed of two short words joined together to form a new, meaning-based word. That is, a compound word has a meaning that is based on the meanings of its constituent words. Children enjoy generating compound words, such as cowboy, blackboard, baseball, and campground” (Henry, 2010, p. 49). When two Anglo-Saxon base words are combined, compound words are formed. “Base words are the short meaningful words commonly used in the primary grades” (Henry, 2010, p. 97). When teaching students about compound words, I say the entire word, and then I tell them to decipher the meaning of the word by reading it backward. For example, a playhouse is a house for playing. The figure below illustrates this teaching strategy. Obviously, decoding the meaning of compound words in reverse order does not work for every compound word (e.g., hotdog, butterfly, flashlight, township), however, it is a method that students can apply later when learning prefixes, suffixes, and Latin roots. In this episode, I am working with culturally and linguistically diverse students who are excellent decoders, but struggle with prefixes, suffixes, and syllable division patterns. Based on the decoding-spelling developmental continuum (Henry, 2010, p. 9), before I introduce syllable types and syllable division rules to the students, it is smarter to review compound words. Listen in as I engage the students in a review lesson on compound words. Reference: Henry, M. K. (2010). Unlocking literacy: Effective decoding & spelling instruction. Baltimore, Md: Paul H. Brookes.
26 minutes | Oct 6, 2018
Episode 24: Looking Inside of Words
The more I build a word conscious classroom, the more I am committed to word study. Scott, Skobel, and Wells (2008) argued that words are the lifeblood of literacy. Hence, word study should be central to all literacy instruction. Included in word study is spelling, decoding (word calling), and word meaning. In this episode, I am having students focus solely on word sounds. In this episode, I directed students to look inside of the word for the spelling pattern /au/ or /aw/. I then had them to sing the sound so that they can develop a consciousness for the /au/, /aw/ sound. One of my favorite tools for looking inside of words is Explode the Code. I am not a seller for this company. I am just providing my testimonial. I have been using this series since 2005 and to this day, it has not failed to teach students how to look inside of words and to properly learn how to decode and encode words. Prior to using this resource, I’ve used phonetically controlled poems to help students to hear the distinct sounds that I am teaching. Afterwards, I ask the students to practice looking inside of words using the exercises from the Explode the Code series. Below is a sample page taken from one of the Explode the Code books. As students are working on studying word patterns for encoding (spelling) and decoding (reading), they are guided to look inside of the word a chose the correct symbolic representation for the word. In sum, I believe that students don’t get enough opportunities to “look inside of words”. I believe that we as teachers are so fixated on teaching reading skills, that we forget about the importance of vigorous and consistent word study. As I am building my word conscious classroom, I challenge you to join me. Let’s teach the babies vocabulary by having each of them to “look inside of words” for familiar letters, word families, and word patterns. This will certainly lay the foundation for advanced word study and vocabulary acquisition. Reference: Scott, J. A., Skobel, B. J., & Wells, J. (2008). The word-conscious classroom: Building the vocabulary readers and writers need. New York: Scholastic.
21 minutes | Sep 29, 2018
Episode 23: Vocabulary Ladders and AAVE
I speak African American Vernacular of English (AAVE) and at times, it trips me up. As it happens, in this podcast episode, you will hear me mispronounce one of our vocabulary words. Plus, if you’ve been following my podcast, then you know that I mix up my verb tenses and my pronouns. Hence, I am very cognizant about how I pronounce words and my grammatical use of words. As a speech model for my students, I want to ensure that my students are hearing our language spoken properly. Nonetheless, at times, my AAVE will peek its head and interfere with my discourse, as AAVE is the root of my language. More and more, I’m learning to embrace my AAVE because it is my mother tongue. It’s not perfect English, but it is perfect for me as it is the language of my parents, my family, and my ancestors. When I think back to my school days, I was a child that was dependent on school. My parents did the best that they could to teach me and support my learning at home, but they relied on public education to prepare me for my future. Nonetheless, in my opinion, I believe that my public schools failed in helping me to develop word consciousness and vocabulary knowledge. Delpit (2014) mentioned in her book, Multiplication is for White People, that vocabulary “is also one of the most poorly taught aspects of the curriculum” (p. 68). Delpit mentioned that, Nagy and Herman found that “middle-class children learn about three thousand words a year incidentally and only about three hundred from organized instruction. Nagy and Herman state further that because the bulk of children’s vocabulary growth occurs incidentally, the single most important goal of vocabulary development should be to increase the amount of incidental word learning” (p. 68-69). There are lots of ways of exposing students incidentally to rich language. Delpit mentioned the following: Introduce students to complex vocabulary while also teaching needed conventions and strategies Involve students in activities that use the information and vocabulary in both creative and analytical ways Play word games with students Explore prefix and suffix meanings Create metaphors Explore new words Develop vocabulary through repeated oral and written use Solidify new knowledge by having students explain what they have learned using the new vocabulary words When teaching vocabulary to my students, I use a resource called Vocabulary Ladders. When using ladders, I discuss with the students how the words are related and how they can be placed in a category as well as within a continuum from a high extreme to a low extreme. This exercise gives them incidental exposure to words, even if they don’t memorize the meanings for each. As a result of doing such exercises, my students performed 50% higher on their state tests than predicted by my quarterly assessment. In sum, “successful instruction is constant, rigorous, integrated across disciplines, connected to students lived cultures, connected to their intellectual legacies, engaging, and designed for problem solving that is useful beyond the classroom” (Delpit, 2014, p. 69). References: Rasinski, T. V., & Cheesman Smith, M. (2014). Vocabulary Ladders: 5. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Delpit, L. (2014). “Multiplication Is for White People.” New Press.
27 minutes | Sep 22, 2018
Episode 22: Studying the Author’s Word Choice Using Predictions
Predictions are powerful! In fact, we ask students to make predictions all the time because student predictions provide a window into the situation model, or the mental model, that students create in their minds. In this podcast episode, I decided to use a lesson from Texts and lessons for content-area reading. Daniels and Steineke (2011) suggested the use of a strategy entitled, the Quotation Mingle, a strategy similar to to Beers’ (2006) tea party (p.131). Daniels and Steineke (2011) reminded me of why “we want the students predicting, hypothesizing, posing questions, and drawing inferences before they even open the book,” this is known as front loading. Front loading the content guarantees better comprehension later (Daniels & Steineke, 2011, p. 131). As I had my students participate in the quotation mingle, I had them to focus on the word choice and what thoughts came to their mind as a result of reading their quotation. The students had no idea of what the text was going to be about, but they were highly interested in the upcoming reading because of the selected quotes that they read. I must preface this episode by stating that the students in this podcast episode were identified as culturally and linguistically striving readers that were assigned to work with me so that I could boast their reading achievement. Neither the students nor my colleagues knew that I chose to use advanced level text with these students as my tool of choice for remediation. The students were reading quotes like; “Teenage girls admit to speeding, texting, and acting aggressively behind the wheel more often than their male counterparts” and “Where do I start?” said Quinn’s passenger, Matt Parilli, 17, cataloguing his friend’s driving shortcomings.” Look at all of those rich words (aggressively, male, counterparts, cataloguing, and shortcomings). Where else are striving readers going to read or hear words like these if they are not receiving direct instruction that houses rich language? Lisa Delpit stated in her book that exceptional teachers “of low-income students of color take every opportunity to introduce students to complex vocabulary while also teaching needed conventions and strategies” (p. 69). Thus, if Lisa Delpit heard the lesson in this episode, I believe that she would be quite proud, as there are culturally and linguistically diverse students who are engaged with advanced level texts and questions that promote critical thinking. Reference: Beers, K., & Beers, G. K. (2003). When kids can’t read, what teachers can do: A guide for teachers, 6-12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Delpit, L. (2014). “Multiplication Is for White People.” New Press. Daniels, H., & Steineke, N. (2011). Texts and lessons for content-area reading: With more than 75 articles from the New York times, Rolling stone, the Washington post, Car and driver, Chicago tribune, and many others. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
24 minutes | Sep 15, 2018
Episode 21: Build Word Consciousness with Eponyms
One fun way to build word consciousness is to use Eponyms with students. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, eponyms are defined as “one for whom or which something is or is believed to be named.” Students may not realize that some of the things that we use in everyday life is named after a person. One famous example of an Eponym is the sandwich. Before I taught this lesson, I looked for resources that would support the learning of my students. I researched Eponyms and found children’s books to help me teach them. One such book is Guppies in Tuxedo’s by Marvin Terban. Another source that I have in my professional library is The Vocabulary Teachers Book of Lists is an excellent source to get a list of Eponyms. This book not only houses lists of eponyms, but it has toponyms, exonyms, oxymorons, and palindromes. This is a very rich resource that I have used to help me build a word conscious classroom. In this podcast episode, you will here me introduce my students to Eponyms. Diamond and Gutlohn (2009) mentioned that word origins are one of the elements of building word consciousness. Teaching students about eponyms is not only a form of etimology, but it also is a form of word play, as students enjoy playing with eponyms that are linked to their own names. Reference: Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes. Fry, E. B. (2004). The vocabulary teacher’s book of lists. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Terban, M., & Maestro, G. (2008). Guppies in tuxedos: Funny eponyms. New York: Clarion Books.
20 minutes | Sep 8, 2018
Episode 20: Measuring Students Decoding and Encoding Abilities
It’s important for teachers to know the current levels of their students in order to enhance effective literacy instruction. There are many screening tools provided by the school system as well as informal assessment that teachers purchase for additional information about the student. Although my school system provided me withRead More
27 minutes | Sep 2, 2018
Episode 19: Start the Year with Good Old Fashioned Goal Setting
Having students set goals is a powerful way to help them create a purpose for their learning. Students also create a learning identity that enables them to have agency and productive power. Each year, I have my students set goals for themselves and at the end of the quarter, weRead More
30 minutes | Jun 2, 2018
Episode 17: Book Talks Boost Language within the Word Conscious Classroom
As we get closer to the summer break, I want to get my students hooked on a couple of books that I expect them to read over the summer. I have a few reluctant readers who would prefer doing anything else rather than reading. Still, I would like to captureRead More
28 minutes | May 26, 2018
Episode 16: Bridging Text-Dependent Questions with Queries
Questions are a powerful source for building a word conscious classroom. And, Queries are even more powerful because they create the surge that promotes deeper thinking by students. Many teachers use questions to help guide students through strategy usage and problem solving. While questions can be used to assess studentRead More
21 minutes | May 19, 2018
Episode 15: A Tribute to Dr. Anna Uhl Chamot
While at The George Washington University working on my Master’s Degree, I got the privilege to take a course with Dr. Anna Uhl Chamot. After learning about her passing, I wanted to contribute one of my podcast episodes to her magnificent work. Dr. Chamot, along with Dr. O’Malley, created theRead More
19 minutes | May 12, 2018
Episode 14: Macaroons and Macrons-a delicious phonics treat!
When I was learning how to read, I can recall my First Grade teacher using diacritical marks that indicated how to call the target words. My First Grade teacher may have taught me the names of those diacritical marks, but it was not until I was in my thirties, thatRead More
24 minutes | May 5, 2018
Episode 13: The Influence of Language Learning Objectives
We write learning objectives every day. But our learning objectives are mostly linked to content learning and not language learning. Not only do students striving to learn English need language learning objectives, but any student that is learning how to use the functions of our English language need language learningRead More
11 minutes | Apr 21, 2018
Episode 12: Don’t Take Word Knowledge for Granted
We can’t assume that students know how to break a multisyllabic word into a prefix, a suffix, and a root. As words become more complex, knowledge of roots becomes more essential for students. “Words, like stories, have structure. …Like the parts of a story, the parts of a word alsoRead More
16 minutes | Apr 14, 2018
Episode 11:Teach the Babies Vocabulary
For years, I focused on teaching my striving readers phonics. My hypothesis was, if I teach the babies phonics, then they will read better. However, I’m learning more and more that it’s not about phonics so much as it is about vocabulary. “Vocabulary is a critical factor in the developmentRead More
15 minutes | Apr 7, 2018
Episode 10: Word Meaning Assessment
What does it mean to know a word? Given that words are multifaceted in nature, how do we ensure that students can savor the richness of individual words? In a word conscious classroom, we can not take our students’ knowledge of words for granted. Many of the formative assessments don’tRead More
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2022