Teaching Individual Words - Michigan's Mission Possible

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1

Teaching Individual Words:

One Size Does Not Fit All!

Michael F. Graves

University of Minnesota, Emeritus

mgraves@umn.edu


IRA Annual Convention

Atlanta, Georgia


May, 2008


mommy

kitty

timid

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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bonnie_graves@msn.com

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Teaching Individual

Words

One Size

Does Not Fit All


Michael F. Graves


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

5

The Importance of Vocabulary

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the best indicators of verbal
ability.

Vocabulary knowledge in kindergarten and first grade is a
significant predictor or reading comprehension in the middle and
secondary grades.

Vocabulary difficulty strongly influences the readability of text.
In fact, vocabulary is far and away the most significant factor
influencing text difficulty.

Teaching vocabulary can improve reading comprehension for
both native English speakers and English learners. (Graves,
2006, 2007)

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

6

The Vocabulary Learning Task

The vocabulary learning task is huge.

The average fourth grader probably knows 5,000
-
10,000 words.

The average high school graduate probably knows 50,000
words.

To acquire this extensive vocabulary, he or she has learned
something like 3,500 words a year.

This translates to learning 10 words a day.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

7

Vocabulary Deficits

Some students face debilitating vocabulary deficits.

Many children of poverty enter school with vocabularies have
the size of their middle
-
class counterparts (Hart & Risley, 1995,
2003).

Once in school, they continue to learn words at about half the
rate of their peers.

In the intermediate grades and high school, their vocabularies
are still half the size of those of their

peers, possibly less.

The same is true of many English learners.






Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

8

Assisting Students in Building Strong Vocabularies

Helping average students achieve vocabularies of 50,000 words
is a very substantial task.

Helping students with small vocabularies catch up with their
peers is an even more substantial task.

Only a rich and multifaceted vocabulary program is likely to help
students accomplish these tasks (Baumann & Kam
éenui, 2004;
Blachowicz, Fisher, Ogle, & Watts
-
Taffe, 2006; Graves, 2006;
Stahl & Nagy, 2006)
.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

9

A Four
-
Pronged Vocabulary Program

Frequent, varied, and extensive language experiences

Teaching individual words

Teaching word
-
learning strategies

Fostering word consciousness


See Baumann, Ware, and Edwards (2007)
for a study validating this program.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

10

Teaching Individual Words Is Just One Part of a
Comprehensive and Multifaceted Vocabulary Program

With something like 3,500 words to learn each year, teaching
individual words is just one part of the comprehensive and multi
-
part program such as that outlined below and needs to
recognized as a part of that whole.




Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

11

Frequent, Varied, and Extensive Language Experiences



Reading, writing, discussion, and listening


The emphasis on these four modalities and the
teaching/learning approaches used will vary over time.


With younger and less proficient readers, there is more
discussion and listening and more teacher
-
led work.


With older and more proficient readers, there is more reading
and writing and more independent work.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

12

Teaching Word
-
Learning Strategies


Using context


Learning and using word parts


Using glossaries and the dictionary


Recognizing and using cognates (for Spanish speakers)


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

13

Some Types of Word Consciousness Activities



Creating a Word
-
Rich Environment



Recognizing and Promoting Adept Diction



Promoting Word Play



Fostering Word Consciousness Through Writing



Involving Students in Original Investigations



Teaching Students about Words






(Graves & Watts
-
Taffe, 2002, 2007)


14

Teaching Individual Words: The

Word
-
Learning

Tasks

Students

Face


Building a basic oral vocabulary


Learning to read known words


Learning to read new words representing known concepts


Learning to read new words representing new and challenging
concepts


Learning new meanings for known words


Clarifying and enriching the meanings of known words


Moving words into students’ expressive vocabularies


Building English learners’ vocabularies


Teaching vocabulary to improve comprehension

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

15

Teaching Individual Words: Levels

of

Word

Knowledge



No knowledge


Very general sense


Narrow, context
-
bound knowledge


Having a basic knowledge of a word and being able to use it in
many appropriate situations.


Rich, decontextualized knowledge


Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002


[slightly modified]




Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Teaching Individual Words: Identifying

Words

To

Teach

1


Word lists (Biemiller, in press; Chall & Dale, 1995, Coxhead,
2000; Fry, 2006; Hiebert, 2005)


Testing or asking students (Anderson & Freebody, 1983; White,
Slater, & Graves, 1989)


Selecting tier two words (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002)


Considering five questions (Graves, 2006, in press)

17

Identifying Words to Teach

2

Fry’s 1,000 Instant Words (Fry & Kress, 2007). The 1,000 most
frequent words

Dale’s list of 3,000 Words (Chall & Dale, 1995). 3,000 words that
most 4th graders know

Hiebert's Word Zones: 5,586/3,913 Words grouped into set of
~300, ~500, ~1000, and ~2000 words. The 4,000 most frequent
word families http://www.textproject.org/library/resources

Biemiller's Words Worth Teaching in Kindergarten
-
Grade Two and
in Grades Three
-
Six (Biemiller, in press). One list of about 2,000
words and one of about 4,000 words.

Coxhead's Academic Word (Coxhead, 2000): 570 word families
that occur reasonably frequently over a range of academic texts.
http://language.massey.ac.nz/staff/awl/corpus.shtml

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Identifying

Words

To

Teach

3: Considering five
questions


Is understanding the word important to understanding the
selection?


Does this word represent a specific concept students definitely
need to know?


Are students able to use context or structural
-
analysis skills to
discover the word's meaning?


Can working with this word be useful in furthering students’ context,
structural analysis, or dictionary skills?


How useful is this word outside of the reading selection currently
being taught?


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

19

Some Characteristics of Effective Instruction for
Individual Words


Instruction that involves both definitional information and
contextual information is markedly stronger than instruction
that involves only one of these.


Instruction that involves activating prior knowledge and
comparing and contrasting meanings is stronger still.


More lengthy and more robust instruction that involves
students in actively manipulating meanings, making
inferences, searching for applications, using prior knowledge,
and frequent encounters is still stronger.


Stronger vocabulary instruction takes more time, and with the
number of words to be learned we very often do not have more
time.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

20

Three Levels of Effective Instruction for Individual
Words


Level One. (1) Pronounce the word, (2) provide a student friendly
definition, and (3) use the word in a contextually rich sentence.



Level Two. (1) Pronounce the word, (2) provide a student friendly
definition, (3) use the word in a contextually rich sentence, and (4)
provide an activity that requires students to activate prior knowledge
or compare and contrast meanings.



Level Three. (1) Pronounce the word, (2) provide a student friendly
definition, (3) use the word in a contextually rich sentence, (4) provide
an activity that requires students to activate prior knowledge or
compare and contrast meanings, and (5) and involve students in
actively manipulating meanings, making inferences, and/or searching
for applications.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Merely mentioning word meanings and assuming that you have
therefore taught them

Giving students words out of context and asking them to look up
the words in the dictionary

Asking students to use context before teaching them how to do so

Doing speeded trials with individual words

Giving students only a definition or only the word in context

Some Things Not to Do in Teaching Individual Words

22

PROVIDING STUDENT
-
FRIENDLY DEFINITIONS

A KEY
TO ANY METHOD OF INSTRUCTION

Providing student
-
friendly definitions

ones that are accurate and that
students will understand

is no mean task. Below are a definition of
dazzling

from the dictionary on my computer and a student
-
friendly
definition from Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2003).

“bright enough to deprive someone of sight temporarily”

“If something is dazzling, that means that it’s so bright that you can
hardly look at it.”

The
Collins COBUILD New Student’s Dictionary

(Harper
-
Collins, 2006)
and the
Longman Study Dictionary

of American English

(2006) provide
many excellent examples of student
-
friendly definitions.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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BUILDING A BASIC ORAL VOCABULARY: SHARED
BOOK READING

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Characteristics of Effective Shared Book Reading


Both the adult readers and children are active participants.



Involves several readings


Focuses attention on words


The reading is fluent, engaging, and lively.


Deliberately stretches students and scaffolds their efforts


Employs carefully selected words and books


25


Select books that are interesting, enjoyable, and contain the sorts
of words you want to teach: 30 books for the year.


Select words known by some but not all students, not Beck’s tier 2
words. 24 words per book


Day 1: Read the book once, including some comprehension
questions.


Days 2
-
4. Read the book 3 times teaching 8 of the 24 words each
time. Definitions should be short and student friendly.


Day 5. Review all 24 words in new contexts but with the same
definitions.

Biemiller & Slonim, 2006


Biemiller’s Approach to Shared Book Reading


26


It is individualized and web
-
based, with a lot of interaction and
games.


It is targeted at students with small English listening vocabularies in
grades 1
-
4.


It teaches the most frequent 4,000 word families.


Students move through the program at their own pace, and can
move up or back depending on their performance on online tests
on each of 400 units, which each deal with 10 words.


In each unit, students are only taught those of the 10 words that the
pretest indicated they do not know.

Sales & Graves, 2007



Sales & Graves
First 4,000 Word

Approach to Shared Book
Reading

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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What It Means to Know the Most Frequent 4,000 Words



The words we are teaching are 3,913 word families (base words
and their common inflected forms) taken from a list developed by
Hiebert (2005). Hiebert divided the words into four “zones”: the first
300 words, the next 500 words, the next 1,200 words, and the final
2,000 words.



The value of knowing these words is shown in the next four slides,
which show a passage from a biography written for upper
elementary students and the words that would be familiar to
students who knew (1) only the 300 words in Zone 1, (2) the 800
words in Zones 1
-
2, the 2,000 words in Zones 1
-
3, and the 4,000
words in Zones 1
-
4.



Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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(1)

Knowing only the 300 words in Zone 1, a student could
read only the words shown here.


Could it be an ________? The year before,


had seen one for
the first time when his mother took him to a ______ __________ in

, ________. He had _______,

, as the _____ ____ a _______
_____________ by ________ _______ on the _______ of a
__________ that was ______ on the ______. Now _____ an ________
was right here in _________, and about to ___ over his house.


Not _______ to


a thing, _______ ______ the ______ and _______
up the _______ ____ of the house to its ____. From there he had a
good ____ of the ___________ _____, _______ ____ the


place. And in the ___, ______ ever ______, he saw the _____.



Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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(2) Knowing the 800 words in Zones 1 and 2, a student
could read the words shown in this version.


Could it be an

? The year before,


had seen one for the
first time when his mother took him to a


__________ in ____
_____, ________. He had watched,

, as the


gave a


by ________ _______ on the _______ of a ___________ that was
______ on the ground. Now maybe an ________ was right here in
_________, and about to ___ over his house.


Not _______ to ____ a thing, _______ opened the window and
_______ up the _______ ____ of the house to its ____. From there
he had a good view of the ___________ River, _______ _______ past
the _______ place. And in the sky, coming ever ______, he saw the
_____.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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(3) Knowing the 2,000 words in Zones 1
-
3, a student
could read the words shown in this version.


Could it be an airplane? The year before, Charles had seen one for
the first time when his mother took him to a flying __________ in ____
_____, Virginia. He had watched, _________, as the _____ gave a
_______ _____________ by ________ oranges on the _______ of a
__________ that was ______ on the ground. Now maybe an airplane
was right here in _________, and about to fly over his house.


Not _______ to ____ a thing, Charles opened the window and climbed
up the _______ roof of the house to its ____. From there he had a
good view of the ___________ River, _______ ________ past the
__________ place. And in the sky, coming ever closer, he saw the
plane.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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(4) Knowing the 4,000 words in Zones 1
-
4, a student
would be able to read everything in the version below that
not in

grey
.


Could it be an airplane? The year before, Charles had seen one for
the first time when his mother took him to a flying exhibition in Fort
Myer
, Virginia. He had watched,
enthralled
, as the pilot gave a
bombing demonstration by dropping oranges on the outline of a
battleship that was traced on the ground. Now maybe an airplane was
right here in Minnesota, and about to fly over his house.


Not wanting to
miss

a thing, Charles opened the window and climbed
up the sloping roof of the house to its peak. From there he had a good
view of the Mississippi River, flowing
languidly

past the
Lindbergh

place. And in the sky, coming ever closer, he saw the plane.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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First 4,000 Words Opening Screen

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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33

Story Level Listening Pre
-
Assessment: The Tree
House Studio

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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First 4,000 Words Cozy Cave

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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35

Shared Book Reading: Level 2

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Sample Game Format

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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RICH AND POWERFUL INSTRUCTION



Semantic mapping (Heimlich & Pittleman, 1986)



Semantic feature analysis (Pittleman et al., 1991)



Vocabulary visits (Blachowicz & Obrochta, 2005)



Robust instruction (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002)



Frayer method (Frayer, Frederick, & Klausmeier, 1969)


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Semantic Mapping

1.
Put a word representing a central concept on the board,
overhead, or lcd.

2.
Ask students to work in groups listing as many words related to
the central concept as they can.

3.
Display students’ words grouped in broad categories.

4.
Have students name the categories and perhaps suggest
additional ones.

5.
Discuss with students the central concept, the other words, the
categories, and their interrelationships.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Semantic Mapping Example

Conditions


Owners



Run down


Hard to reach



Small


Make good money



Crowded


Don't live there



Drab


Often don't care



TENEMENT

Costs


Tenants



Not cheap


People without a lot of money


Lower than some places New immigrants



Too high


City people



Large families

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Semantic Feature Analysis

1. Construct a grid that contains a set of related words on one axis and a
list of features that each of the words may or may not have on the other
axis.

2. Initially, show students a completed grid and discuss what the checks
and pluses indicate.

3. Later, show students grids with the terms and attributes filled in but
without the pluses and minuses and ask students to insert them.

4. Later still, show grids with some terms and some attributes, ask
students to add to both the list of related words and the list of attributes,
and then to fill in the pluses and minuses.

5. After students are proficient in working with partially completed grids
you supply, they can create their own grids for sets of related words
they suggest.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

41

Semantic Feature Analysis Example


narrow

wide

paved

unpaved


for walking

for driving

___________________________________________________________________
_______

path


+


-


-


+


+


-

___________________________________________________________________
_______

trail


+


-


-


+


+


-


___________________________________________________________________
_______

road


+


+


+


+


-


+

___________________________________________________________________
_______

lane


+


-


+


+


+


+

___________________________________________________________________
_______

boulevard
-


+


+


-


-


+

___________________________________________________________________
_______

freeway


-


+


+


-


-


+

___________________________________________________________________
_______

turnpike


-


+


+


-


-


+

___________________________________________________________________
_______


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Vocabulary Visits


Model the instruction on the plan and activities of a field trip.


Identify a topic, thematically oriented informational texts, and key words.


Choose a photo to stimulate discussion and anchor a large poster.


Have students list the words they know about the topic and put them on the
poster.


Take a field trip using the poster: Ask students for words they see, hear, and
feel. Put them on the poster on post
-
its, grouping related words.


Read sections of the books aloud. Have kids give "thumbs up" when they hear
one of the words. Add key words to the poster as necessary.


Finish the books. Reorganize words as seems appropriate


Do extension activities like word games, sorting, writing, and reading new
topically related books.


Evaluate with such activities as listing words and writing summaries of the books,
plays, or poetry that focus on the topic.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

43

Vocabulary Visits: Some “Skeleton” Words Taught



bone

skull

leg




arm

wrist

ankle




foot

ribs

brain




spine

backbone

protect

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Vocabulary Visits: Number of Words Learned

Student

Before V V

After V V



1


8


20


2


7


23


3


4


6


4


6


23


5


7


27


6


4


32


7


4


13


8


7


8


9


5


10

10


7


26

11


3


10

12


4


18

13


5


11

14


5


11

15


0


6

16


0


6

17


0


14

18


0


19

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Robust Instruction






1.
Begin with a student
-
friendly definition.

2.
Have students work with the word more than once.

3.
Provide the word in more than one context.

4.
Engage students in activities in which they deal with various
facets of the target word’s meaning and with investigating
relationships between the target word and other words.

5.
Have students create uses for the word.

6.
Encourage students to use the word outside of class.




Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

46

Robust Instruction Partial Example

1
. ambitious

really wanting to succeed at something

3. Susan's
ambition

to become an Olympic high jumper was so strong
that she was willing to practice six hours a day.

3. Rupert had never been an
ambitious

person, and after his accident
he did little other than watch television.

4. Would you like to have a really
ambitious

person as a friend? Why
or why not?

4.
Which of the following better demonstrates
ambition
? (a) A stock
broker gets up every day and goes to work. (b) A stock broker
stays late at work every day, trying to close as many deals as
possible before leaving.

4.

How likely is it that an
ambitious

person is
lethargic
? How likely is
it than an
ambitious

person would be
energetic
?

5.

Write a brief story showing an
ambitious

person.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Frayer Method


1.
Define the new concept.

2.
Distinguish between the new concept and similar concepts it
might be confused with.

3.
Give examples, and explain why they are examples.

4.
Give non
-
examples, and explain why they are non
-
examples.

5.
Present students with examples and non
-
examples, and ask
students to distinguish between them.

6.
Have students present examples and non
-
examples, explain
why they are one or the other, and provide feedback.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

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Frayer Method Partial Example


1.
A
globe

is a ball like model of planet.

2.
A
globe

is different from a map because a map is flat.

3.
The most common
globe

is a globe of the earth. A less
common globe is a
globe

of another planet like Mars.

4.
A map of California. Directions about how to get to a friend’s
house.

5.
A photograph of New York taken from an airplane.

A ball
-
shaped model of the moon.

6.
[student
-
generated examples]

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

49

INTRODUCTORY INSTRUCTION



Providing glossaries



Using pictures



Context/dictionary/discussion



Context/relationship


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

50

Providing glossaries

Probably the least time
-
consuming and least intrusive thing you
can do to assist students with the vocabulary of selections they
are reading is to provide glossaries of important terms.

tsu
-
na
-
mi.

A large wave that can occur after an underwater
earthquake

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

51

Using Pictures

Solar system.

The nine
planets that revolve around
our sun make up our solar
system.

Someday it may be
possible for humans to
explore all the planets in
our solar system, but that
will not be soon.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

52

Context/Dictionary/Discussion Procedure



Give students the word in a fairly rich context.



For example,
admire

“We
admire

the paintings of great


artists at the museum.”



Ask them to look it up in the dictionary.



Discuss the definitions they come up with.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

53

Context
-
Relationship Procedure

Create a brief paragraph that uses the target word three or four times.
Follow the paragraph with a multiple
-
choice item that checks students’
understanding of the word.

1.
Explain the purpose of the procedure.

2.
Pronounce the word to be taught.

3.
Read the paragraph in which the word appears.

4.
Read the possible definitions, and ask students to choose the best
one.

5.
Pause to give students time to check a definition, give them the
correct answer, and answer any questions they have.

6.
Read the word and its definition a final time.

Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

54

Context
-
Relationship Procedure Example


Gathered


The children
gathered

eggs from the henhouse. Then they put
the eggs in a basket.
Gathering
eggs was something they did
every day when they visited their grandmother’s farm.
Gathered

means that a person picks up and collects something.


Gathered
means




A.

dropping things.




B.

picking up things.




C.

sharing ideas.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

55

MAJOR POINTS OF THE PRESENTATION


When it comes to teaching individual words, one size does not fit all
because

1.
There are a variety of effective methods of teaching
individual words. I have classified these as Introductory
Methods and Rich and Powerful Methods.

2.
There are so many words to teach that we cannot teach all of
them in depth.

3.
There are various levels of work knowledge that we seek to
create in students.

4.
There are various word learning tasks

learning a basic oral
vocabulary, learning to read known words, learning new
labels, learning new concepts, etc.

5.
Both students and teachers need variety in instruction.


Mike Graves, Univ of Minn

56

Some Recent Vocabulary Books

Baumann & Kame'enui. (Eds.). (2004).
Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice
.
New York: Guilford.

Beck, McKeown, & Kucan. (2002).
Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary
instruction.

New York: Guilford.

Biemiller. (in press).
Words worth teaching.

Columbus, OH: SRA/McGraw
-
Hill.

Hart & Risley. (1995).
Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young
American children.

Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Hiebert & Kamil. (Eds.). (2005).
Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing
research to practice.

Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum.

Stahl & Nagy. (2006).
Teaching word meanings.

Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Wagner, R. K., Muse, A. E., & Tannenbaum, K. R. (Eds.). (2007).
Vocabulary
acquisition: Implications for reading comprehension
: New York: Guilford.

Graves. (2006).

The vocabulary book: Learning and instruction.

New York:

Teachers College Press, IRA, and NCTE.

Graves
.
(in press).

Teaching individual words: One size does not

fiit all.

New York:

Teachers College Press and IRA.

57

References

Anderson, R. C., & Freebody, P. (1983). Reading comprehension and the assessment and acquisition of word knowledge. In
B. Hudson (Ed.),
Advances in reading/language research

(pp. 231
-
256). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Baumann, J. F., & Kame'enui, E. J. (Eds.). (2004).
Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice
. New York: Guilford.

Beck, McKeown, & Kucan. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford.

Blachowicz, C. L. Z., Fisher, P. J. L, Ogle, D., & Watts
-
Taffe, S. (2006). Vocabulary: Questions from the classroom.
Reading
Research Quarterly, 41,
524
-
539.

Blachowicz, C. L. Z., & Obrochta, C. (2005). Vocabulary visits: Virtual field trips for content vocabulary development.
The
Reading Teacher, 59
, 262
-
268.

Biemiller, A. (in press).
Words worth teaching.

Columbus, OH: SRE/McGraw
-
Hill.

Biemiller, A. & Boote, C. (2006). An effective method for building meaning vocabulary in primary grades. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 98, 44


62.

Chall, J. S., & Dale, E. (1995).
Readability revisited: The new Dale
-
Chall readability formula.

Cambridge, MA: Brookline
Books.

Collins COBUILD new student’s dictionary

(3rd ed., 2005). Glasglow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list.
TESOL Quarterly, 34,

213
-
238.

Frayer, D. A., Frederick, W. D., & Klausmeier, H. J. (1969).

A schema for testing the level of concept mastery
(Working Paper
No. 16). Madison: Wisconsin Research and Development Center for Cognitive Learning.

Fry, E. B., & Kress, J. E. (2006).
The reading teacher's book of lists

(5th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey
-
Bass.

Graves, M. F. (2006).
The vocabulary book: Learning and instruction.

New York: Teachers College Press, IRA, and NCTE.

Graves, M. F. (2007). Conceptual and empirical bases for providing struggling readers with multi
-
faceted and long
-
term
vocabulary instruction. In B. M. Taylor & J. Ysseldyke (Eds.),
Educational perspectives on struggling readers
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