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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Reading Rockets Newsletter: December 2015


December 2015 Newsletter

In Focus | Books & Authors | Ideas for Parents & Teachers | Research & News

In Focus: Vocabulary

Vocabulary plays a critical role in learning to read and in reading comprehension. In this month's newsletter, you'll find featured articles on effective vocabulary instruction and guidance for parents on how to support word learning at home. You'll find lots more articles, research briefs, parent tips, and video clips in our complete library of vocabulary resources.

4 Practical Principles for Improving Vocabulary Instruction

Drawing on instructional materials, classroom images, and observational data from research, the authors illustrate these 4 principles: (1) establishing efficient, rich routines for introducing target word meanings; (2) providing review activities that promote deep processing of word meanings; (3) responding directly to student confusion; and (4) fostering universal participation in and accountability for vocabulary instruction.



Tackling Tier 2 Words: Vocabulary Development During Read Alouds

In this study, researchers observed the techniques of four primary teachers in teaching vocabulary during read alouds. Find out how each teacher strives to balance the pure pleasure of reading aloud with best practices in word study instruction – including questioning, elaboration of student responses, labeling, imagery, and morphemic analysis.


Related article (excerpt from Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction): Choosing Words to Teach



Content Area Vocabulary

Vocabulary lies at the heart of content learning. In this article, literacy experts Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey talk about effective strategies to support word learning in the content areas: give students time to read widely, intentionally select words worthy of instruction, model their own word solving strategies, and provide students with opportunities to engage in collaborative conversations.



Especially for Parents: Use Words to Teach Words

Children who comprehend the most from their reading are those who know a lot about words. They are familiar with word prefixes, suffixes, word roots, and multiple meanings of words. Families can help develop word knowledge through simple conversations focused on words. [In English and Spanish]


Children's Books & Authors

Give Books! Our 2015 Annual Gift Guide

Give the gift that can be shared again and again. Browse our fresh collection of wonderful fiction and nonfiction books for kids 0-12. Spotting books, music and lullabies, rhymes, books about home and the art of waiting, science and nature books, picture book biographies, board books for the littlest ones ... and lots more.


Mac Barnett: Yarn Spinner

In our exclusive video interview, meet the charming author of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole. His picture books, Leo: A Ghost Story and The Skunk, were recognized as The New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2015. Barnett loves his work because, he says, kids are "the sincerest appreciators of stories, a uniquely receptive and honest audience."


Tomie dePaola: Family Tales and Folktales

Tomie dePaola has published more than 250 books, but is perhaps best known for his delightful re-tellings of traditional folktales – from the gently comic adventures of Strega Nona and Big Anthony to the richly re-imagined legends of the bluebonnet and poinsettia.



Ideas for Parents & Teachers

For Parents

Creating Holiday Learning Traditions

During the holiday season, consider adding some new traditions for your family that will make meaningful memories and strengthen foundations for reading and learning success. [In English and Spanish]


For Teachers

Classroom Strategy: Semantic

Semantic gradients are a great way to deepen children's nuanced understanding of related words. Go inside Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom to observe how a recent class read-aloud, The Seed Is Sleepy, becomes the springboard for a lively discussion about words that describe the (massive vs. gigantic and tiny vs. microscopic).

Additional strategies:


For Parents

What's Cooking?

This holiday season, will you be hanging out in the kitchen with your kids? Get inspired with our collection of great fiction and nonfiction books about food and cooking, hands-on activities (make a chef's hat!), simple writing prompts (share a favorite family recipe), and more. [From Start with a Book]


For Teachers

Guiding Students Through Expository Text with Text Feature Walks

Help your students get the most out of informational text. Text features include everything but the main body of text, including the table of contents, index, glossary, headings, bold words, sidebars, pictures, captions, and labeled diagrams. A text feature walk can build background knowledge and frontload vocabulary and concepts that will be important in the main body of the text.


For Parents

The Importance of Reading Widely

Sharing lots of different kinds — or genres — of books with your child exposes him to different words, different kinds of images, and whole new worlds. This tip sheet suggests some genres to try with your young reader that complement 'traditional' fiction. [In English and Spanish]


For Teachers

Please Be Charitable for Literacy

Literacy expert and Reading Rockets blogger Tim Shanahan shares his "gold standard" list of charities that help improve children's literacy and language and make books available to kids. Please consider donating to any of these charities — they all do terrific work and could use your help during this season of giving!


Research & News

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves
The New York Times  |  December 5, 2015

Simple Number, Complex Impact: How Many Words Has a Child Heard?
National Public Radio  |  December 5, 2015

Here's How Screen Time Is Changing the Way Kids Tell Stories
The  Conversation  | December 4, 2015

Building a Curriculum of Great Classroom Talk
International Literacy Association Daily  |  December 3, 2015

New Study Raises Questions About RTI Implementation
Education Week  |  December 1, 2015

Can Five-Year-Olds Really Meet Common Core State Standards?
School Library Journal  |  November 30, 2015

"There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away"

– Emily Dickinson


About Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a national educational service of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital. The goal of the project is to provide information on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. Learn about easy ways you can link to us to let others know about the many free resources available from Reading Rockets.

Send your questions, comments, or suggestions to readingrockets@weta.org. Our mailing address is WETA/Reading Rockets, 2775 S. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22206. We look forward to hearing from you!

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