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Voices from the Middle, Vol. 15, No. 1, September 2007

Cover Art for Voices from the Middle, Vol. 15, No. 1, September 2007

Table of Contents

Issue Theme: Reading the Signs: Vocabulary

  • Teaching How to Think about Words

    Peter Fisher and Camille Blachowicz

    Abstract: The authors address the need to teach students to become more word aware by focusing on metasemantic awareness, alongside morphological and syntactic awareness, as a basis for developing metacognition about words. They extend the concept of a definition map to other forms of vocabulary learning and provide several helpful graphic organizers.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Vocabulary Instruction in the Middle Grades

    Michael F. Graves

    Abstract: Michael Graves points out that it is only in the last 40 years that a rich base of theory and research about teaching and learning vocabulary has come into being. Grounding his article in this research, he lists some of the factors testifying to the importance of vocabulary and discusses what may be the most crucial fact about the task of teaching vocabulary. He then describes a comprehensive vocabulary program for middle school students.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Bringing Words to Life and into the Lives of Middle School Students

    Christine Boardman Moen

    Abstract: While strongly endorsing a multi-pronged approach to vocabulary instruction, Moen takes pains to include and even emphasize work with English Language Learners. By adhering to the principles of A.C.T. (Access to texts, individual Choice of reading material, and Time to read), Moen finds myriad ways to make learning words a creative and social process that increases opportunities for practice and retention.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Word Links: A Strategy for Developing Word Knowledge

    Ruth Helen Yopp

    Abstract: Word Links, an effective strategy for developing students’ vocabulary, is based on four principles. It provides contextual and definitional information; offers repeated exposure to words and opportunities to practice them; encourages students to think about relationships among word meanings; and involves active engagement in learning tasks. Yopp describes how Word Links helps students work through often-difficult subject matter texts and describes its special benefits for English Language Learners.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Mediating the Matthew Effect in Reading: Fostering Word Consciousness

    Kay Cowan and Peggy Albers

    Abstract: The authors, one a teacher–researcher and the other a literacy researcher, take on the daunting task of vocabulary instruction in a school with a socioeconomically diverse population. They have designed a literacy program that emphasizes vocabulary development and uses personal choice (for motivation) and scaffolded literacy strategies (for support) to instill a keen awareness of, and lasting interest in, words.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Editor’s Message

    Roxanne Henkin, Janis Harmon, Elizabeth Pate, and Honor Moorman

    Abstract: The editors place the subject of vocabulary teaching in a context of today’s classrooms and online environments.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Next Steps in the Journey Imagining a New Kind of Self: Academic Language, Identity, and Content Area Learning

    Jeffrey D. Wilhelm

    Abstract: Based on the belief that learning is deeper in meaningful contexts, Wilhelm makes a case for creating (authentically or simulated in the classroom) specific contexts that lead students into new identities, new perspectives, and new vocabulary. This is effectively accomplished by framing instructional units or curricular topics as inquiry, consciously studying academic language, and providing opportunities to talk, write, and reflect on the work at hand.

    Keywords: Elementary

  • Books for Young Adolescents Reading the Signs

    Teri S. Lesesne

    Abstract: Lesesne gives us a glimpse into books that offer “signs” helpful clues, like illustrations, simple language, an insightful afterword that readers can use to predict, anticipate, and infer meaning.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Stories along the Way Fridays, Rumors, and Hard Truths

    Penny Kittle

    Abstract: Departing from the usual classroom stories, Kittle shares a particularly poignant story of a boy whose personal troubles spilled into school with life-threatening consequences. The incident motivated her to remind us that “this works is about knowing, and doing, and being strong enough for both.”

    Keywords: Middle

  • New Puzzles/Next Moves: What’s This New Emphasis on Vocabulary All About?

    Nancy Shanklin

    Abstract: Many teachers, especially novice teachers, believe that teaching vocabulary is among their easier duties, but Shanklin makes a convincing argument that high-quality vocabulary teaching requires thoughtful preparation. Here she offers several sound techniques for engaging students with vocabulary in meaningful ways.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Student to Student Title That Tempt

    Kim Ford

    Abstract: Ford introduces student reviews of books that push the boundaries of word usage—slang, reinvented words, shifting meaning—all things that can pique interest and inspire play with words.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Technology Toolkit Literary Road Trip

    Sandy Hayes

    Abstract: Hayes recognizes the value of connections kids make when authors and settings strike a familiar note. She invites readers to participate in a new event at this year’s NCTE Annual Convention in New York City: The 21st-Century Literary Map Project gallery, where attendees are encouraged to examine affiliates’ literary maps, see digital or digital/print hybrid maps, and create literary maps of their own region or state. She also provides numerous online links to literary maps of all kinds.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Professional Reading for Middle Level Educators Reading the Signs: Vocabulary and More

    Penny Silvers

    Abstract: Reviewed are: Naked Reading: Uncovering What Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers by Teri Lesesne; The Book Club Companion: Fostering Strategic Readers in the Secondary Classroom by Cindy O’Donnell-Allen; Books and Beyond: New Ways to Reach Readers by Michael Opitz and Michael Ford; Lenses on Literacy Coaching: Conceptualizations, Functions, and Outcomes (by Cathy Toll)

    Keywords: Middle

  • Bumps in the Road Expecting More than Points on a Chart

    Wanda B. Hedrick, with Lunetta Williams and Linds Tuschinski

    Abstract: Research does not support the view that external rewards motivate students to learn. This column offers alternatives to reward systems, describing strategies that engage students and teach them lifelong habits of reading and discussion.

    Keywords: Middle

  • Postcard from the Middle Level Section

    Jim Johnston

    Abstract: Johnston, a middle level steering committee member, describes the motivational value of the Promising Young Writers contest, and comments on the heightened impact of coaching on students who are preparing submissions.

    Keywords: Middle

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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