Enhancing Vocabulary Instruction to Improve Academic Success
About the Course
Research indicates that the breadth and depth of a student’s word knowledge is directly linked to reading comprehension and overall academic success. The quality of a reader’s knowledge of the words in a text is crucial for reading comprehension and proficiency. Additionally, a rich vocabulary is the foundation that shapes a student’s understanding of the world, and allows for more meaningful engagement in academic discourse.
In this class, participants will explore a structure for vocabulary instruction that inspires students to build more interest in words, engage in deeper processing of meanings and create more vast lexicons. Participants will learn a framework that was designed for teachers who have daily Language Arts periods. This framework explicitly introduces the meaning of words and solidifies understanding with thought-provoking and interactive follow-up activities.
Throughout the course, participants will refine their process for determining suitable words to teach, write more comprehensible student-friendly definitions and learn seven concrete steps for introducing new words. A variety of follow-up activities for universal instruction (Tier I) and targeted instruction (Tier II) will also be addressed. Additionally, participants will gain methods for assessing vocabulary, strategies for English language learners and ideas for incorporating new vocabulary into writing. At the end of the course, participants will create a 5-day lesson plan for introducing and reinforcing new vocabulary while using content from their classroom curriculum.
This course is appropriate for elementary, middle and high school teachers in all content areas. Instructional coaches, special education teachers, special service providers and anyone who teaches vocabulary to students are invited to join.
- Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction (2nd Edition) by Isabel L Beck, Margaret G McKeown, Linda Kucan
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify appropriate words to include in instruction based on utility, conceptual understanding and instructional potential.
- Write student-friendly explanations for discussing word meanings that are explicit and clear.
- Develop a 5-day lesson plan following an instructional sequence that includes systematic word introductions and follow-up activities to enrich the speaking and listening vocabularies of students in primary and intermediate grades.
- Implement a variety of methods for assessing different levels of word knowledge to support student learning.
- Provide increasing levels of scaffolding for struggling students and English language learners.
Lauren Britt is a Speech-Language Pathologist who helps elementary students (K-5) build effective communication skills in order to live meaningful and purposeful lives. In addition to elementary-aged student, she has experience working with children from birth to 5-years-old. Although she works primarily with students in Special Education, she collaborates regularly with classroom teachers and has observed that students of all abilities and backgrounds can benefit from the strategies she frequently uses.
Lauren believes that vocabulary is the building block of language and language is the vehicle that allows individuals to learn about their world and connect with others. It is the foundational skills which children need to become competent and capable learners and succeed in school and life.
She has worked primarily with children from low socio-economic backgrounds, with English language learners and with children who have experienced adverse childhood trauma. Her caseload has included students with deficits in receptive language, expressive language, articulation, oral motor skills, pragmatic language and oral fluency. While her students have a variety of medical diagnoses and educational disabilities, she believes that with the appropriate tools, strategies and support, all students are capable of making personal and academic growth.
Lauren works in Adams 12 school district. She works directly with a full caseload of students with educational disabilities, serves as part of the district speech-language assessment team and collaborates with classroom teachers through Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). In addition, she collaborates with general education teachers in her school to modify assignments, differentiate text, support vocabulary acquisition and improve student success inside and outside of the classroom.
Lauren is a licensed Specialized Service Provider with the Colorado Department of Education and a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with the Department of Regulatory Agencies. Additionally, she holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
She received her MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Eastern Illinois University and her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Illinois State University.