Today during intervention hour, I was working with a small group of students who needs the strategic teaching of rhymes. I chose the book “The Night Before Christmas” because it is not only perfect to hold student interest in the weeks before the season, it is packed with rhyming words. Everything was going great until I read this page:
“When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.”
At that moment, I was given a look of horror by one of the students. “Yuck!” he said. “How do you throw up a sash?” “It just means to open the curtains.” I replied. “What? You mean you throw-up after you open the curtains?” I could plainly see that it was time for some vocabulary instruction. And, it reminded me just how key vocabulary instruction is to build comprehending, fluent readers. Strategic vocabulary instruction is sometimes overlooked by busy educators as it is assumed that students already know the definition of words.
There is a company, Mentoring Minds who offers (among many other products) some great tools to extend and deepen students' understanding and expand their vocabulary, especially in the areas of math and science, subjects that are packed with academic vocabulary. You can request a sample here, it is available at several different levels. If you are a parent, you may wish to slip some of these great supplemental learning products under your tree.