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Voices from the Middle Moving from Print to Practice, September 2012 (20.1) - Previous Revision

This Issue’s Focus: Background Knowledge

This issue focuses on background knowledge—acquiring it, building it, and supporting readers to be independent learners and thinkers. The first articles focus on building background knowledge through investigation. Investigation takes multiple forms, ranging from the investigator role in literature circles to reading product labels and critically analyzing content.

Another major topic is vocabulary instruction. How do we identify, teach, and support vocabulary that is necessary for readers to comprehend content? New teachers will find this issue particularly helpful when it comes to identifying how readers struggle with content vocabulary and how to choose new words to teach. Experienced teachers will benefit from teaching ideas and new ways to think about vocabulary instruction, especially if Marzano’s notion of tiered vocabulary is new to you.

The reality is that if readers do not understand the vocabulary of the discipline they are studying, they will not be able to grasp the larger concepts. It is our responsibility as teachers to support them in those efforts. The material that follows will help you do just that.

Click on an article title below to go directly to the additional content for that article.

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