Erica Bowers, Ed.D. [email protected] Laura Keisler, Ed.D. [email protected] What is the goal for the learners you support? Academic Literacy! If advanced academic literacy is our goalthan we, as teachers, must be acutely aware of the academic language demands students will encounter. What is different about language as students progress through the grades? It becomes more “Academic.” Scarcella (2003) defines Academic English as “a variety or a register of English used in professional books and characterized by the specific linguistic features associated with academic disciplines.” “The difference between the ‘everyday’ and the ‘specialist’ lexis [words] is a major way that language of academic texts differs from the ordinary interactional language of daily life” (Schleppegrell, 2004). Language used to “access and engage with the school curriculum” (Bailey & Heritage, 2008) From Narrative to Academic Science Text Use very specific content area language Cause/Effect structure if _____, then _____ You need to be able to “read” And present information graphically Math Texts • Use very content specific language • Diagrams, equations, graphs • A lot of text on one page! History Texts • Tend to use another “voice” • Use multiple charts, graphs, pictures, political cartoons. • Unfamiliar phrases Don’t think Language Arts is Immune! • Content specific language AND multiple meaning words! • Bloom’s language • Complex sentence structure Students must learn to… Read, write, and speak like a scientist Read, write, and speak like a historian Read, write, and speak like a mathematician What makes Academic Language so difficult? Academic language is more than just the words (vocabulary) we speak- it’s knowing how and when to use them! For example: Everyday language: Cow-brain sandwiches are illegal now because you might get Mad Cow. Science speak, “Human consumption of the cerebrum matter of the Bos taurus or related bovid mammals is currently interdicted by legislation related to the potential for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy—or BSE—contraction.” Distinguishing between the Form and Function of Language Language Forms- the structure of language. Syntax and sentence structure Narrative and Expository text structure Grammatical features Academic Vocabulary Language Functions: the purposes/tasks for using language. Explain Infer Analyze Synthesize Compare/Contrast Persuade Vocabulary: A Key Component to Comprehension Vocabulary knowledge strongly influences reading comprehension .(Nagy & Scott , 2000; Beck & McKeown, 2007) Knowledge of word meanings affects every aspect of language knowledge. 2003, p. 241) (Stahl, Which words do I choose? The Importance of Selecting the “Right” Words So many words, 135,473 13,882 words 2,980 words 1,676 words 620 words 203 words 107 words so little time! • 310 words make up about 50% of words in text. • We often find ourselves teaching the rare words that only occur in 10% of text! • The trick is to teach the middle of the pyramid. Zeno et al., 1995 One Method for Selecting Vocabulary Tier Words A strategy created by Beck, Mckeown, & Kucan (2002) to select critical words for instruction. Tier Words An ideal reader’s vocabulary contains three tiers of cont. words: Tier 1 words- high frequency & common words. We gain most of these words through exposure in oral language. (i.e., happy, run, stop…) Tier 3 words- infrequent words that are often content driven (i.e., ptolemy, viscosity, temperance). It is best to directly teach these using student friendly definitions. Tier Words cont. Tier 2 words- occur frequently in the ideal reader’s vocabulary and across many content areas (i.e., manufacturing, journal, recycle). These are the words to focus on during instruction. Try it…. Johnny Harrington was a kind master who treated his servants fairly. He was also a successful wool merchant, and his business required that he travel often. In his absence, his servants would tend to the fields and cattle and maintain the upkeep of his mansion. They performed their duties happily, for they felt fortunate to have such a benevolent and trusting master. Which words are Tier 2? Activity excerpted from Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002, p. 16 Do your selections agree? Johnny Harrington was a kind master who treated his servants fairly. He was also a successful wool merchant, and his business required that he travel often. In his absence, his servants would tend to the fields and cattle and maintain the upkeep of his mansion. They performed their duties happily, for they felt fortunate to have such a benevolent and trusting master. Another Consideration… Words with more that take on a shade of a different meaning in a content area…. e.g., function, distribute, factor, power. Academic Vocabulary: making it explicit What technical vocabulary might students be unfamiliar with? Is everyday vocabulary used in an unfamiliar way in the text (i.e., are there words with multiple meanings students might not be aware of)? Technical Vocabulary Content/topic specific vocabulary they need to learn in order to understand the reading and build their knowledge of the subject Integer Hypothesis Myth Acropolis Everyday Vocabulary words that students are likely to encounter in many subject areas and can have either a specialized or more general meaning depending on the context in which they are being used. Students may be familiar with these words but find that they may be used in unfamiliar or unique ways in a particular content area. Try it… Give a definition for each word to the person sitting next to you: Word Everyday Meanings Technical Meaning in a content area Order __________________ ___________________________ Odd __________________ ___________________________ Story __________________ ___________________________ Good __________________ ___________________________ Pool __________________ ___________________________ Try this one! Find X X 4 8 Other Resources for Selecting Words The Academic Word List (List of Academic Words that occur in multiple academic contexts across genres): http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicw ordlist/ Word Count (86,800 most frequently occurring words in English ranked by order of frequency) http://www.wordcount.org/main.php Research suggests four main principles to guide vocabulary instruction: 1. Students should be active in developing their understanding 2. Students should personalize word meanings. 3. Students should be immersed in words. 4. Students should build on multiple sources of information to learn words through repeated exposures of words and ways to learn them. (Nagy & Scott , 2000) Activities that utilize the 4 principles of effective vocabulary instruction Parade-Pause-Pair Vocabulary The Semantic Sleuth Response Boards The Semantic Sleuth 4-Corners Multiple Meaning Carousel The Semantic Sleuth Squad Rise and Fall Definitions Vocabulary Memory Boxes Excerpted from Bowers & Keisler, 2010. Games are excerpted from: Bowers, E. & Keisler, L. (2010). Building Academic Language through Content-Area Text: Strategies to Support English Language Learners. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Rise and Fall Definitions Teacher shares a sentence using a vocabulary word and offers two definitions for the word. Students select the definition they feel is correct. Rise (stand) or fall (sit) represents the 2 answer choices. Students rise or fall depending on which answer they feel is correct. Rise and Fall Definitions Teacher sentence: At the beginning of the brainstorming session the leaders had an inchoate idea of what their mission statement should be. Rise: not yet completed, or fully formed; vague Fall: crazy, wild, irrational. Rise and Fall Definitions Teacher definition: After Sam forgot their anniversary, roses were not enough to mollify Sadie, who was clear that nothing less than diamonds would get him back in her good graces. Rise: invalidate, annul, void, cancel Fall: To soften, appease, pacify Parade-Pause-Pair Students make cards with either just the vocabulary word or just the definition. Students choose one of their cards to “parade.” Students get up and parade (mix) until the teacher says, “pause.” They pair with the closest person and share their card. The pairs determine the word to match the definition or the definition to match the word. After 2 “parades” students switch cards with their partner and continue playing. The Semantic Sleuth Squad •Students are arranged in teams and each team is given a vocabulary word used in a teacher generated sentence. •Students work as a group to define their word by using context clues or word structure strategies. •Students write a team definition, explanation of the strategy they used to determine the meaning, and use the word correctly in a sentence. Semantic Sleuth Squad Sentence: Becky bought a machine that would help her to desiccate her fruit so that she could eat it in the winter. Strategy: Team definition: Team sentence: Semantic Sleuth Squad Sentence: His enemy was in an enervated state after he had been deprived of food and water. Strategy: Team Definition: Team Sentence: References Beck, I., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Beck, I. & McKeown, M.G. (2007). Increasing young low income children’s oral vocabulary repertoires through rich and focused instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 107(3), pp. 251-271. Bowers, E. & Keisler, L. (2010). Building Academic Language through Content-Area Text: Strategies to Support English Language Learners. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education. Juel, C., Biancarosa, G., Coker, D., & Deffes, R. (2003).Walking with Rosie: A cautionary tale of early reading instruction. Educational Leadership, 60(7), pp.12–18. Nagy, W.E., & Scott, J.A. (2000). Vocabulary Processes. In M.L. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. III, pp. 269-284). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Snow, C. E. (1990). The development of definitional skill. Journal of Child Language, 17, pp. 697-710. Stahl, S. A. (2003). Vocabulary and readability: How knowing word meanings affects comprehension. Top Language Disorders, 23(3), pp. 241- 247.