CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006
In "Letter to a young clergyman," Jonathan Swift said, "Proper words in a proper place make the true definition of a style." The challenging task for teachers is to organize vocabulary instruction in such a way that words stick in the minds of young readers resulting in the development of a lifelong connection with words and language.
Traditionally, vocabulary and reading comprehension have been taught through a method of "assign, define, and test." Words may have stuck, but they are associated with spelling lists and rote memorization, not through the sharing of imaginative works with nuances of language, and words met in context rather than in isolation. Making Words Stick book explores innovative ways to deepen and enrich the word knowledge of learners from grades 1 to 8.
Much more than a "Letter to a young teacher," this 157 page book, with an extensive bibliography and index, "provides elementary teachers with a specific system of best-practice vocabulary instruction that will make oral and printed vocabulary stick." The author, Kellie Buis, has dedicated her career as a teacher, consultant, and university professor to developing children's literacy. Her commitment is evident throughout the book. Simply put, her "Letter to a young teacher" would state:
Words stick when the students
The chapters that precede this conclusion detail how to make this happen. Grounding the book by citing research on vocabulary instruction, the author synthesizes this research and creates her own rooted, instructional strategies to enrich the vocabulary of all students.
Chapter 1: Anchoring Word Knowledge
Chapters 2 & 3: Semantic Mapping
Chapters 3 & 4: STRETCH Chart Prompted Conversations
Chapters 6 & 7: Independent Centres
These research-based, classroom strategies will make vocabulary "stick with style" with diverse groups of learners. They show that, by creating a positive learner-centered environment for the learning of words through incorporating visual displays and think-and-search activities, the proper word will fall into the proper place. Words can stick for a lifetime, especially when they are presented with delight and a heartfelt love of teaching and learning. If the smiling child on the cover is any indication, this book is bound to make more that words stick.
Gina Varty, a librarian in Edmonton, AB, currently provides library supply for Edmonton Public Schools.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.