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Posts Tagged ‘Academic Vocabulary’

Academic Word List

Not too many teachers would argue that vocabulary acquisition is unimportant.

It is widely accepted among researchers that the difference in students’ vocabulary levels is a key factor in disparities in academic achievement (Baumann & Kameenui, 1991; Becker, 1977; Stanovich, 1986)

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

However, the average ELA teacher spends little instructional time on vocabulary development.

Vocabulary instruction has been neither frequent nor systematic in most schools (Biemiller, 2001; Durkin, 1978; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010; Scott & Nagy, 1997).

As cited in the Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

Vocabulary Instruction

Depth and Breadth

The Common Core authors and reading specialists advocate a two-fold approach to vocabulary instruction: 1. Explicit and multi-faceted vocabulary instruction and 2.  implicit vocabulary acquisition through independent reading and listening. Depth and breadth.

What does in-depth explicit vocabulary instruction look like?

The Common Core authors provide the most detailed vocabulary Standards in The Language Strand: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (Standards 4, 5, and 6):

  1. Multiple Meaning Words and Context Clues (L.4.a.)
  2. Greek and Latin Word Parts (L.4.a.)
  3. Language Resources (L.4.c.d.)
  4. Figures of Speech (L.5.a.)
  5. Word Relationships (L.5.b.)
  6. Connotations (L.5.c.)
  7. Academic Language Words (L.6.0)

Most ELA and reading teachers are familiar with #s 1–6, but are confused about #7: Academic Language Words (L.6.0). By now, most teachers know that Academic Language Words are the Tier 2 words, which reading specialists and the Common Core authors tell us to teach because they are the most generalizable across all text genre. As a reminder, Tier 1 words are those used in everyday speech and Tier 3 words are domain-specific words used in content area instruction. However, what many teachers don’t know is that we have a research-based list of high frequency Tier 2 words.

 *****
Dr. Averil Coxhead, senior lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies developed and evaluated The Academic Word List (AWL) for her MA thesis. The list has 570 word families which were selected according to certain criteria:
  • The word families must occur in over half of the 28 academic subject areas. “Just over 94% of the words in the AWL occur in 20 or more subject areas. This principle ensures that the words in the AWL are useful for all learners, no matter what their area of study or what combination of subjects they take at tertiary level.”
  • “The AWL families had to occur over 100 times in the 3,500,000 word Academic Corpus in order to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the words will be met a reasonable number of times in academic texts.” The academic corpus refers to a computer-generated list of most-frequently occurring academic words.
  • “The AWL families had to occur a minimum of 10 times in each faculty of the Academic Corpus to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the vocabulary is useful for all learners.”

Words Excluded From the Academic Word List

  • “Words occurring in the first 2,000 words of English.”
  • “Narrow range words. Words which occurred in fewer than 4 faculty sections of the Academic Corpus or which occurred in fewer than 15 of the 28 subject areas of the Academic Corpus were excluded because they had narrow range. Technical or specialist words often have narrow range and were excluded on this basis.”
  • “Proper nouns. The names of places, people, countries, for example, New Zealand, Jim Bolger and Wellington were excluded from the list.”
  • “Latin forms. Some of the most common Latin forms in the Academic Corpus were et al, etc, ie, and ibid.” http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/information

What’s the best way to teach the Academic Word List? The author’s grades 4, 5, 6,7 and 8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits  use the Frayer model four

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits

square (definition, synonym, antonym, and example-characteristic-picture) method to learn these words in-depth.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an instructional scope and sequence of the Academic Word List by grade level? In other words, a 4th Grade Academic Word List, a 4th Grade Academic Word List, a 4th Grade Academic Word List. a 4th Grade Academic Word List, and a 4th Grade Academic Word List? We’ve got it and it’s your FREE download! the Grades 4-8 Vocabulary Scope and Sequence

Would you like to check out our CCSS-aligned vocabulary worksheets from the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits ?

Here are FREE samples of vocabulary worksheets from this comprehensive program–ready to teach in your class today. Each resource includes directions, four grade-specific vocabulary worksheets, worksheet answers, vocabulary study cards, and a short unit test with answers.

Get the Grade 4 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 5 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 6 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 7 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 8 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Literacy Centers, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE Grade 7 Vocabulary Word Lists

Grade 7 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

If you really want to teach all of the Common Core vocabulary standards this year, you’ve got to have this FREE resource!

The FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 7 may just be that wheel you don’t have to reinvent with your grade-level team this summer. This research-based word list consists of Tier 2 words, developed from Averil Coxhead’s high frequency Academic Word List. The perfect resource for teaching the CCSS grade 7 L.6.0 vocabulary standards.

In addition to these academic language words, I’ve included twice-per-week word or focus lists of the following: multiple meaning words and context clues (L.4.a.; Greek and Latin word parts (L.4.a.c.d.); Language Resources (L.4.c.d.); word relationships (L.5.a.); figures of speech (L.5.a.); and connotations (L.5.c.) to complete a comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence that is perfectly aligned to the Grade 7 Common Core Language Strand vocabulary standards. Just plug these into your grade-level curricular map and you are good to go!

Of course, I’m providing this resource to entice teachers to check out my full-year Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs, which provide the lessons and alignment documents to teach to this curricular map. In a nutshell, these grade-level programs provide twice-per-week worksheets (with answers), vocabulary flashcards with games, a complete syllabication program, and bi-weekly tests. Get your colleagues at your site to purchase their grade-level programs to establish a seamless instructional vocabulary continuum from grade to grade for your students.

Download the FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 7 plus the comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence HERE from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click to purchase or check out the extensive previews for the grade-level Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit programs:

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit on my own site for 10% off if you enter DISCOUNT CODE 3716. CLICK HERE.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE Grade 6 Vocabulary Word Lists

Grade 6 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

If you really want to teach all of the Common Core vocabulary standards this year, you’ve got to have this FREE resource!

The FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 6 may just be that wheel you don’t have to reinvent with your grade-level team this summer. This research-based word list consists of Tier 2 words, developed from Averil Coxhead’s high frequency Academic Word List. The perfect resource for teaching the CCSS grade 6 L.6.0 vocabulary standards.

In addition to these academic language words, I’ve included twice-per-week word or focus lists of the following: multiple meaning words and context clues (L.4.a.; Greek and Latin word parts (L.4.a.c.d.); Language Resources (L.4.c.d.); word relationships (L.5.a.); figures of speech (L.5.a.); and connotations (L.5.c.) to complete a comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence that is perfectly aligned to the Grade 6 Common Core Language Strand vocabulary standards. Just plug these into your grade-level curricular map and you are good to go!

Of course, I’m providing this resource to entice teachers to check out my full-year Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs, which provide the lessons and alignment documents to teach to this curricular map. In a nutshell, these grade-level programs provide twice-per-week worksheets (with answers), vocabulary flashcards with games, a complete syllabication program, and bi-weekly tests. Get your colleagues at your site to purchase their grade-level programs to establish a seamless instructional vocabulary continuum from grade to grade for your students.

Download the FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 6 plus the comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence HERE from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click to purchase or check out the extensive previews for the grade-level Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit programs:

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit on my own site for 10% off if you enter DISCOUNT CODE 3716. CLICK HERE.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE Grade 5 Vocabulary Word Lists

Grade 5 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

If you really want to teach all of the Common Core vocabulary standards this year, you’ve got to have this FREE resource!

The FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 5 may just be that wheel you don’t have to reinvent with your grade-level team this summer. This research-based word list consists of Tier 2 words, developed from Averil Coxhead’s high frequency Academic Word List. The perfect resource for teaching the CCSS grade 5 L.6.0 vocabulary standards.

In addition to these academic language words, I’ve included twice-per-week word or focus lists of the following: multiple meaning words and context clues (L.4.a.; Greek and Latin word parts (L.4.a.c.d.); Language Resources (L.4.c.d.); word relationships (L.5.a.); figures of speech (L.5.a.); and connotations (L.5.c.) to complete a comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence that is perfectly aligned to the Grade 5 Common Core Language Strand vocabulary standards. Just plug these into your grade-level curricular map and you are good to go!

Of course, I’m providing this resource to entice teachers to check out my full-year Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs, which provide the lessons and alignment documents to teach to this curricular map. In a nutshell, these grade-level programs provide twice-per-week worksheets (with answers), vocabulary flashcards with games, a complete syllabication program, and bi-weekly tests. Get your colleagues at your site to purchase their grade-level programs to establish a seamless instructional vocabulary continuum from grade to grade for your students.

Download the FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 5 plus the comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence HERE from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click to purchase or check out the extensive previews for the grade-level Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit programs:

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit on my own site for 10% off if you enter DISCOUNT CODE 3716. CLICK HERE.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE Grade 4 Vocabulary Word Lists

Grade 4 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

If you really want to teach all of the Common Core vocabulary standards this year, you’ve got to have this FREE resource!

The FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 4 may just be that wheel you don’t have to reinvent with your grade-level team this summer. This research-based word list consists of Tier 2 words, developed from Averil Coxhead’s high frequency Academic Word List. The perfect resource for teaching the CCSS grade 4 L.6.0 vocabulary standards.

In addition to these academic language words, I’ve included twice-per-week word or focus lists of the following: multiple meaning words and context clues (L.4.a.; Greek and Latin word parts (L.4.a.c.d.); Language Resources (L.4.c.d.); word relationships (L.5.a.); figures of speech (L.5.a.); and connotations (L.5.c.) to complete a comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence that is perfectly aligned to the Grade 4 Common Core Language Strand vocabulary standards. Just plug these into your grade-level curricular map and you are good to go!

Of course, I’m providing this resource to entice teachers to check out my full-year Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs, which provide the lessons and alignment documents to teach to this curricular map. In a nutshell, these grade-level programs provide twice-per-week worksheets (with answers), vocabulary flashcards with games, a complete syllabication program, and bi-weekly tests. Get your colleagues at your site to purchase their grade-level programs to establish a seamless instructional vocabulary continuum from grade to grade for your students.

Download the FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 4 plus the comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence HERE from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click to purchase or check out the extensive previews for the grade-level Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit programs:

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit on my own site for 10% off if you enter DISCOUNT CODE 3716. CLICK HERE.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FREE Grade 8 Vocabulary Word Lists

Grade 8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

If you really want to teach all of the Common Core vocabulary standards this year, you’ve got to have this FREE resource!

The FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 8 may just be that wheel you don’t have to reinvent with your grade-level team this summer. This research-based word list consists of Tier 2 words, developed from Averil Coxhead’s high frequency Academic Word List. The perfect resource for teaching the CCSS grade 8 L.6.0 vocabulary standards.

In addition to these academic language words, I’ve included twice-per-week word or focus lists of the following: multiple meaning words and context clues (L.4.a.; Greek and Latin word parts (L.4.a.c.d.); Language Resources (L.4.c.d.); word relationships (L.5.a.); figures of speech (L.5.a.); and connotations (L.5.c.) to complete a comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence that is perfectly aligned to the Grade 8 Common Core Language Strand vocabulary standards. Just plug these into your grade-level curricular map and you are good to go!

Of course, I’m providing this resource to entice teachers to check out my full-year Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 programs, which provide the lessons and alignment documents to teach to this curricular map. In a nutshell, these grade-level programs provide twice-per-week worksheets (with answers), vocabulary flashcards with games, a complete syllabication program, and bi-weekly tests. Get your colleagues at your site to purchase their grade-level programs to establish a seamless instructional vocabulary continuum from grade to grade for your students.

Download the FREE Vocabulary Word List Grade 8 plus the comprehensive vocabulary instructional scope and sequence HERE from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click to purchase or check out the extensive previews for the grade-level Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit programs:

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 4

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 5

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 6

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 7

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit Grade 8

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but you can get the Common Core Vocabulary Toolkit on my own site for 10% off if you enter DISCOUNT CODE 3716. CLICK HERE.

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academic Language: What Not to Teach and What to Teach

What Not to Teach and What to Teach with Academic Language

Academic Language

Since the adoption of the Common Core State Standards way back in 2009… Has it been that long ago? the term Academic Language has remained as one of the longest-lasting educational buzzwords. As educators and publishers have unpacked that term in the years since, it has taken on various meanings; however, its original intent was to assert that the types of words that we teach do matter. Specifically, teaching Tier 2 words which have utility across subject areas makes a lot of sense. For plenty of examples and the research-based Academic Word List, I’d refer teachers HERE.

The ability of these Tier 2 (Beck, McKeown, Kucan) words to transfer across subject areas and reading genre helps developing readers access more complex text. This is why teaching academic language matters. The Tier 2 academic vocabulary words are not ends in themselves; they are gateways to more sophisticated reading. Academic language is all about access to text complexity.

As detailed in Appendix A of the Common Core document and the research described in the 2006 ACT, Inc., report titled Reading Between the Lines, reading comprehension scores have dropped over the last 20 years. Two reasons were cited for this decline: 1. decreasing text complexity and 2. lack of independent reading. We educators have got to make our word study more rigorous and require more challenging independent reading to enhance the academic language of our students.

How Not to Teach Academic Language

  1. Don’t spend excessive amounts of time reading entire novels out loud to your class. I agree with those who have argued against teachers reading complete novels out loud as spoon-feeding. Of course, reading out loud does have some benefits and re-reading a passage or portion of an article as a close reading does have merit, but not as the primary means of developing academic language and increasing reading comprehension.
  2. I also concur with those who have also argued against independent reading in the classroom as a “waste of instructional time.” Spending oodles of class time with free-choice independent reading does not build academic language. Independent reading is vitally important… but as homework. By the way, Accelerated Reader is not an academic vocabulary program. Teachers are clever enough to incentivize and hold students accountable for independent reading without an outside program.
  3. Don’t have students memorize long lists of academic language words. While memorization is certainly a part of effective word study, students retain more at the end of the year with a quality, not quantity approach to vocabulary study. Some in-depth vocabulary instruction is certainly valuable.
  4. Avoid spending excessive amounts of vocabulary instructional time on learning words in the context of teaching a short story, article, or novel. Pre-teaching a few essential words is unavoidable, but don’t let the reading drive your vocabulary instruction. The tail shouldn’t wag the dog.

How to Teach Academic Language

  1. Increase the amount of independent reading homework with proper incentives and accountability. But do teach students how to read independently and require students to read complex material at their individual instructional levels. Lexiles are a useful tool, but a much simpler and flexible approach to determine reading levels is word recognition. Assign limited choices for independent reading. Students don’t naturally gravitate toward text complexity. Like adults, students look for the easy reads. Don’t worry about taking away a students love of reading. Teachers won’t damage children for life by assigning challenging reading homework. Certainly, informed educators know what’s best for students.
  2. Teach a balanced approach to vocabulary development, using the Common Core Vocabulary Standards detailed in the Language Strand. Teach academic language in isolation and in the reading context. Don’t be a purist. Students may have to read a 1000 novels before being exposed to, say, an important figures of speech. Vocabulary acquisition is not a completely natural process. The Standards focus on teaching a balance of vocabulary skills: multiple meaning words (L.4.a.), words with Greek and Latin roots and affixes (L.4.a.), figures of speech (L.5.a.), words with special relationships (L.5.b.), words with connotative meanings (L.5.c.), and academic language words (L.6.0). Check out How to Teach the Common Core Vocabulary Standards.
  3. Plan. Insist upon grade level and department articulation to coordinate a year-to-year academic language instructional scope and sequence. We all too often wind up teaching, say, the same list of Greek and Latin prefixes year after year. We need a plan to move students from A to Z. Here’s a helpful instructional scope and sequence for grades 4-8 academic language. Yes, a multi-grade vocabulary program does make sense to unify instruction.
  4. Choose the right words to teach. Some academic language words more often than others. It makes sense to focus instruction on the high frequency Tier 2 words found in content area textbooks and in academic articles.Dr. Averil Coxhead, senior lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies developed and evaluated The Academic Word List (AWL) for her MA thesis. The list has 570 word families which were selected according to certain criteria:
    • The word families must occur in over half of the 28 academic subject areas. “Just over 94% of the words in the AWL occur in 20 or more subject areas. This principle ensures that the words in the AWL are useful for all learners, no matter what their area of study or what combination of subjects they take at tertiary level.”
    • “The AWL families had to occur over 100 times in the 3,500,000 word Academic Corpus in order to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the words will be met a reasonable number of times in academic texts.” The academic corpus refers to a computer-generated list of most-frequently occurring academic words.
    • “The AWL families had to occur a minimum of 10 times in each faculty of the Academic Corpus to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the vocabulary is useful for all learners.”

    Words Excluded From the Academic Word List

    • “Words occurring in the first 2,000 words of English.”
    • “Narrow range words. Words which occurred in fewer than 4 faculty sections of the Academic Corpus or which occurred in fewer than 15 of the 28 subject areas of the Academic Corpus were excluded because they had narrow range. Technical or specialist words often have narrow range and were excluded on this basis.”
    • “Proper nouns. The names of places, people, countries, for example, New Zealand, Jim Bolger and Wellington were excluded from the list.”
    • “Latin forms. Some of the most common Latin forms in the Academic Corpus were et al, etc, ie, and ibid.” http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/information

    The Academic Word list has been ordered into lists by frequency of use. Why not teach the academic language words that appear most often in academic text?

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Standards

Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Mark Pennington, an M.A. reading specialist, is the author of the grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits–slices of the comprehensive Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling and Vocabulary programs. These full-year programs help students master the grade-level Anchor Standards for Language: Multiple meaning words and context clues; Greek and Latin word parts; language resources (dictionary and thesaurus); figures of speech; word relationships (homonyms) and connotations; and academic language (Frayer four square model using the leveled, high frequency Academic Word List).

Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Study Skills , , , ,

Vocabulary Scope and Sequence

According the the authors of the Common Core State Standards…

“The importance of students acquiring a rich and varied vocabulary cannot be overstated. Vocabulary has been empirically connected to reading comprehension since at least 1925 (Whipple, 1925) and had its importance to comprehension confirmed in recent years (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). It is widely accepted among researchers that the difference in students’ vocabulary levels is a key factor in disparities in academic achievement (Baumann & Kameenui, 1991; Becker, 1977; Stanovich, 1986) but that vocabulary instruction has been neither frequent nor systematic in most schools (Biemiller, 2001; Durkin, 1978; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010; Scott & Nagy, 1997).” Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

Words are important. Of course, every teacher would agree. But which words should we teach? And in what instructional order?

Here’s what the authors have to say about which words

Tier Two words (what the Standards refer to as general academic words) are far more likely to appear in written texts than in speech. They appear in all sorts of texts: informational texts (words such as relative, vary, formulate, specificity, and accumulate), technical texts (calibrate, itemize, periphery), and literary texts (misfortune, dignified, faltered, unabashedly). Tier Two words often represent subtle or precise ways to say relatively simple things—saunter instead of walk, for example. Because Tier Two words are found across many types of texts, they are highly generalizable. Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

Tier Three words (what the Standards refer to as domain-specific words) are specific to a domain or field of study (lava, carburetor, legislature, circumference, aorta) and key to understanding a new concept within a text. Because of their specificity and close ties to content knowledge, Tier Three words are far more common in informational texts than in literature. Recognized as new and “hard” words for most readers (particularly student readers), they are often explicitly defined by the author of a text, repeatedly used, and otherwise heavily scaffolded (e.g., made a part of a glossary). Common Core State Standards Appendix A 

So, every teacher should be focusing on Tier Two words because they are generalizable and they are most frequently used in complex text. For example, the following Standards would be applicable for teaching Tier Two words in ELA classes:

The Language Strand: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (Standards 4, 5, and 6) 

The Standards focus on these kinds of words: multiple meaning words (L.4.a.), words with Greek and Latin roots and affixes (L.4.a.), figures of speech (L.5.a.), words with special relationships (L.5.b.), words with connotative meanings (L.5.c.), and academic language words (L.6.0). CCSS Language Strand

Tier Three words should be introduced in the context of content study. For example, the following Standard would be applicable for teaching Tier Three words in ELA classes:

The Reading Strand: Literature (Standard 4) Craft and Structure

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama. CCSS Reading: Literature Strand
 *****
Is there any research about the instructional order of Tier Two words

Yes. Dr. Averil Coxhead, senior lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies developed and evaluated The Academic Word List (AWL) for her MA thesis. The list has 570 word families which were selected according to certain criteria:

  • The word families must occur in over half of the 28 academic subject areas. “Just over 94% of the words in the AWL occur in 20 or more subject areas. This principle ensures that the words in the AWL are useful for all learners, no matter what their area of study or what combination of subjects they take at tertiary level.”
  • “The AWL families had to occur over 100 times in the 3,500,000 word Academic Corpus in order to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the words will be met a reasonable number of times in academic texts.” The academic corpus refers to a computer-generated list of most-frequently occurring academic words.
  • “The AWL families had to occur a minimum of 10 times in each faculty of the Academic Corpus to be considered for inclusion in the list. This principle ensures that the vocabulary is useful for all learners.”

Words Excluded From the Academic Word List

  • “Words occurring in the first 2,000 words of English.”
  • “Narrow range words. Words which occurred in fewer than 4 faculty sections of the Academic Corpus or which occurred in fewer than 15 of the 28 subject areas of the Academic Corpus were excluded because they had narrow range. Technical or specialist words often have narrow range and were excluded on this basis.”
  • “Proper nouns. The names of places, people, countries, for example, New Zealand, Jim Bolger and Wellington were excluded from the list.”
  • “Latin forms. Some of the most common Latin forms in the Academic Corpus were et al, etc, ie, and ibid.” http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/information

Furthermore, computer generated word frequencies have determined the frequency of Greek and Latin word parts. 

  • Over 60% of the words students will encounter in school textbooks have recognizable word parts; and many of these Latin and Greek roots (Nagy, Anderson,Schommer, Scott, & Stallman, 1989).
  • Latin and Greek prefixes, roots, and suffixes have predictable spelling patterns.(Rasinski & Padak, 2001; Bear, Invernizzi, Templeton & Johnston, 2000).
  • Content area vocabulary is largely Greek and Latin-based and research supports this instruction, especially for struggling readers (Harmon, Hedrick & Wood, 2005).
  • Many words from Greek and Latin word parts are included in “Tier Two” and “Tier Three” words that Beck, McKeown, and Kucan (2002) have found to be essential to vocabulary word study.
  • Knowing Greek and Latin word parts helps students recognize and gain clues to understanding of other words that use known affixes and roots(Nagy & Scott, 2000).
  • “One Latin or Greek root or affix (word pattern) aids understanding (as well as decoding and encoding) of 20 or more English words.” 
  • “Since Spanish is also a Latin-based language, Latin (and Greek) can be used as a bridge to help Spanish speaking students use knowledge of their native language to learn English.” 

A Model Grades 4-8 Vocabulary Scope and Sequence

Preview the Grades 4-8 Vocabulary Scope and Sequence tied to the author’s comprehensive grades 4-8 Language Strand programs. The instructional scope and sequence includes grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary. The grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 vocabulary instructional scope and sequence appears at the end of the document and include multiple meaning words (L.4.a.), words with Greek and Latin roots and affixes (L.4.a.), figures of speech (L.5.a.), words with special relationships (L.5.b.), words with connotative meanings (L.5.c.), and academic language words (L.6.0). Teachers and district personnel are authorized to print and share this planning tool, with proper credit and/or citation. Why reinvent the wheel? Also check out my articles on Grammar Scope and Sequence, Mechanics Scope and Sequence, and Spelling Scope and Sequence.

Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based grades 4-8 Grammar, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  programs to teach the Common Core Language Strand Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics worksheets and includes sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.

The program also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out the YouTube introductory video of the author’s program.


Here are FREE samples of vocabulary worksheets from this comprehensive program–ready to teach in your class today. Each resource includes directions, four grade-specific vocabulary worksheets, worksheet answers, vocabulary study cards, and a short unit test with answers.

Get the Grade 4 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 5 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 6 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 7 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

Get the Grade 8 Vocabulary Worksheets FREE Resource:

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