Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rigorous Reading and the Vocabulary Notebook

This EXCELLENT book was the focus of my book club study last month.  The writing team of Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher wrote this one.  In this book they outline 5 access points that lead to a deeper, more critical understanding of complex text.  
We all loved how practical this book was and we are finding it easy to apply these key  ideas in our own classrooms. 
Image result for rigorous reading
Frey and Fisher have included QR Codes that link directly to an internet site for video clips of teachers using these strategies in real classrooms.  Although it was geared to those teaching Common Core Standards, we all found it applied well to the more rigorous Virginia Reading SOL expectations.
I'll be blogging in more detail about the ideas introduced in this book.   So check back!
Frey and Fisher caution teachers not to just use quantitative factors (Reading Level) when reviewing a text for use.  They suggest we assess a text's qualitative factors as well.  These include a text's purpose, structure, language conventions and knowledge demands.  One of these qualitative aspects that makes text rigorous is vocabulary knowledge.

We have spent considerable time working on monitoring for meaning in my third grade class. Students need to be held accountable for thinking as they more word plowing, as we like to call it. You know, pushing through the story, calling words but not understanding any of it. 

We monitor for meaning using the terms "Click and Clunk".  Clicking means students are getting what they read and it makes sense to them.  

Clunking means they don't get it....the text is not making sense.  Good readers don't keep plowing through the words if they clunk.  They do something about it. They use some sort of fix up strategy.  
I'm finding more and more that sometimes students clunk because they don't understand the words.  Our English Language Learner group is growing and limited word knowledge is getting in the way of their academic success. 

We work on vocabulary daily.  Here is the Vocabulary Vault that hangs near by shared reading space. This picture was taken early in the year, when we just started our collection.  Now, our vault contains many more words.  My students are always on the lookout for "pizazzy" words. We will stop as I read aloud to them to word solve a meaning of an unknown word and then add it to a post it note and stick it in the vault.  Students refer to this wall chart all the time. 
Another way we tend to vocabulary, is more formally, with our vocabulary notebooks. 
Prior to a whole group or shared reading, I will present a couple of words that they will come 
across in the text.  I pick words that will help them grow their reading, writing and speaking vocabularies.  Experts in the field would call these Tier 2 words. 
I always start with pictures. Here is a presentation of the word: tremble.

I teach the word's pronunciation, syllabication,  and part of speech.
Then we enter it all into our Vocabulary Journals.

We define it by using a kid friendly, simple definition.
We draw it, using a simple sketch.
We explain it, using synonyms and antonyms or other related words.
We use it, writing a sentence with the word.

 These vocabulary journals can become part of a reading round or station during guided reading times. Students can play games with these words or practice using them in Seven Up Sentences.

You can head here to pick up your free download of the vocabulary notebook pages.