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Word Identification Activities for small group intervention to reinforce vocabulary   What is Word Identification? The new Literacy Dictionary (Harris & Hodges, 1995) defines word identification as "the process of determining the pronunciation and some degree of meaning of an unknown word".   What Kids Need to Learn Students will need to learn to dissect words by looking at the context of the words, taking away any prefixes or suffixes, and looking at the root of the word to determine its meaning. For example, in the sentence “Ben was out of shape because of his inactivity,” a student might be able to guess the meaning of inactivity from the context. However, if he/she cannot, then they would try step two, taking away the prefix “in”. They are now left with the word “activity” and might be able to find the meaning of the whole word this way. If they cannot, then the student would isolate the suffix, “ity”. Then they would say the... read more

IT REQUIRES MORE THAN ACADEMICS TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL LIFE-LONG LEARNERS My tutoring philosophy is about balance. My obligation to my students - which may include roles as teacher, counselor, mentor, and/or role model - is to foster various traits which increase my students' likelihood of success - in school, professionally, and as human beings. According to the Johnson O'Connor Foundation, and various other longitudinal studies, the single best predictor of success both in school and occupation is a large vocabulary. A large vocabulary has been shown to enhance reading comprehension and fluency, improve critical thinking, and make communication in all fields more effective. But, it is also crucial to understand that, as absolutely critical as text based literacy skills are, it is easily possible to have a large vocabulary and still struggle with reading. I know this well from my own daughter’s experience and many of the students I have worked with. So,... read more

How can you keep learning fun?! Here are 5 tips:   1) Raps and rhymes. Yes, having students write raps helps them memorize vocabulary, learn steps in a process, and connects math and literacy. I use it to practice public speaking, too, as the students get to perform their raps for friends, family, and me!   2) Bingo!  I use bingo games for EVERYTHING!  Students can use Bingo to match vocabulary words, solve math facts, and locate steps in a process. You can even have students create their own Bingo boards for use with other students.   3)Scavenger hunts get kids moving.  Hide solutions to science or history related trivia around the room and have kids search for it after you read the question. Place cards with the answers to math problems or the definitions of vocabulary words on the walls or in bookcases for children to find. Movement keeps kids engaged, allows fidgety kids to participate, and brings in... read more

Vocabulary is a big deal.  We get tested on it on standardized tests, teachers write in big, bold red markers that we need to expand our word choice, friends say we use "like" and "thing" too often...    But how does one improve their vocabulary?   There is the old-school way, which is intense and not very effective: read a dictionary and hope that some of the words slip into your mind and out of your mouth (or pen).     However, for the modern, efficient, and discerning English-speaker, I have gathered up a few tips and online resources to help kick-start a boost to your vocabulary.     Tips to Increase Vocabulary   1.  Read.  Read a variety of literature, from magazines and newspapers to blogs to comics.  Read the advertisements on the way to work.  Read the ingredients label on your snack or drink.  Read a book.  Read an ebook.  Seriously, just... read more

As I am getting my own college bound Senior ready for applications, tests, and essays, I find myself realizing how important an extensive vocabulary can be to help with all the preparations.   For a student with a 504 Plan or an I.E.P., advanced vocabulary can be a real challenge on standardized tests.  For many students, so much time has been spent on study skills and reading for content, often higher level vocabulary is overlooked.  What can you do?  Look online for games that encourage vocabulary building skills.  Go to a site like Quizlet and look up words from the PSAT, SAT, or ACT to study.  There are games and flashcards already done, or you can make your own.   Try to learn a new word every day and use it!  It is a fun challenge and a great way to expand your knowledge.  Then, when you get into higher level readings, you have built a better base to help you understand the content and context of your readings.   Happy... read more

Radio shows are a great way to practice listening to spoken English. Many radio shows post their episodes online and also include the text of the show. This way you can both listen to the show and also read the show. Reading the text allows you to check your understanding of what you heard. In addition to practicing listening skills, this is also a great way to learn new vocabulary. Below are links to some of my favorite radio shows available online.     Voice of America News stories.  Easy to intermediate vocabulary. For Voice of America, look for news stories with videos.  Below the video, you'll find the text of all the spoken parts.  For example, see the video of this story about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in the United States.       NPR TED Talks  Talks by experts in technology, education, and design fields.  Advanced vocabulary... read more

While in our everyday speech we may speak casually, for a student who wants to develop his intellect as much as possible, vocabulary should continually be built upon.  Any time a student encounters a word that is unfamiliar, that student should write that word down, look up its definition, and use it in a sentence.  Keeping a vocabulary notebook is a super idea for any student, even adult students.  A good way to develop one's vocabulary speedily is to read certain authors who use lesser-known words.  An example of a current author is Charles Krauthammer who recently published "Things That Matter."  Even an educated person will find words in this series of essays that can be learned.  Never underestimate the power of a strong vocabulary!

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