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Vocabularians

  • Title:Vocabularians: Integrated Word Study in the Middle Grades
  • Author:Brenda Overturf, Leslie Montgomery, Margot Holmes Smith
  • Publication Date:June 2015
  • Grade Level:5-8
  • ISBN:9781625310163
  • Publisher:Stenhouse

Building on the ideas developed in Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary, Brenda J. Overturf has updated and energized the recommended practices for middle grades students. Vocabularians is for any educator who wants to help young adolescents increase knowledge and competency with word study while bringing interest, motivation, and even joy to their learning.

Brenda takes teachers and administrators inside three middle-level schools where educators are integrating vocabulary instruction across the curriculum. In rural, urban, and suburban settings, she highlights effective ways to develop students' vocabulary skills using art, music, games, technology, reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking. Vocabularians shows teachers of all content areas how to build word networks, flood the classroom environment with academic vocabulary, and incorporate the three word-solving strategies that researchers have found to be the most important—teaching students how to use context; deciphering words by breaking down prefixes, suffixes, and root words; and using reference materials in authentic ways.

By blending current research with real classroom experience and application, Brenda builds on her work with Margot Holmes Smith and Leslie Montgomery and offers an easy-to-implement, customized-to-middle-school resource that will improve instruction and assessment. As one featured seventh grader shared: "Vocabulary helps you because the more you know words, the more fluent you can be in reading, the better you can read and write, and the better your writing sounds. There's always going to be a time when you have to sound professional, whether you're applying for a job or anything else. You're just going to have to know how to use a good vocabulary."

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Author Bio

Margot Holmes Smith is a reading and math intervention teacher for fourth and fifth grades at Atkinson Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to becoming an intervention teacher, she taught third and fourth grades at Atkinson.

Leslie Montgomery is an intermediate-grades teacher at Gavin H. Cochran Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky. After beginning her undergraduate degree in California and working for the Homes for the Homeless Residential Camping Program in New York City, Leslie returned to Louisville and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in teaching from the University of Louisville.

Brenda Overturf began her career as a classroom teacher, working for eighteen years at the elementary and middle school levels, before she coordinated K-12 reading for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. She also served as chair of the M.Ed. in Reading program at the University of Louisville and is a former member of the International Reading Association Board of Directors.

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