Mindful of Words : Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations, Grades 4-8 book cover
2nd Edition

Mindful of Words
Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations, Grades 4-8

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ISBN 9781462544271
Published October 21, 2020 by Guilford Press
406 Pages

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Book Description

This treasured resource for upper-elementary and middle school teachers--now in a revised second edition with a new lesson-planning framework--presents ready-to-use activities to advance students' spelling and vocabulary knowledge, including academic vocabulary. In a large-size format for easy photocopying, the volume provides over 120 reproducible word sorts, organized by spelling stages, plus additional reproducible forms, word lists, and activities in the appendices. Kathy Ganske's research-based approach emphasizes cognitive engagement, discussion, and active learning. The book features firsthand tips from experienced teachers, strategies for building morphological awareness, "Did You Know?" sections with absorbing stories about specific words, discussions of idioms, and literature suggestions. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible appendix materials.

New to This Edition
*Chapter on researcher perspectives--noted scholars translate cutting-edge findings into practical teaching ideas.
*Greatly expanded content on academic vocabulary, including Ganske's SAIL (survey, analyze, interpret, link) framework for instruction and a reproducible SAIL lesson guide.
*Increased attention to English learners, with two new appendices on Spanish–English vocabulary connections.
*Word sort activities feature updated instructions and many new examples.

See also Ganske's Word Journeys, Second Edition: Assessment-Guided Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Instruction, which provides a comprehensive framework for assessing and building word knowledge, and Word Sorts and More, Second Edition: Sound, Pattern, and Meaning Explorations K–3, which presents word study activities for the primary grades.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction to Word Study
1. Setting the Stage
II. The Voices of Researchers and Teachers
2. Researcher Perspectives
3. Teacher to Teacher: Tips from Teachers for Teachers
III. Word Study Instructional Activities
4. Word Study for Syllable Junction Spellers
5. Word Study for Derivational Constancy Spellers
Appendix A. Performance Records
Appendix B. Sampling of 100+ Important Math Words
Appendix C. Sampling of 100+ Important Science Words
Appendix D. Sampling of 100+ Important Social Studies Words
Appendix E. Blank Word Card Template
Appendix F. Homophone Rummy Answer Key: Sample Sentences
Appendix G. Understanding Prefixes
Appendix H. Applying Prefix Knowledge to Common Latin Roots
Appendix I. Lesson Guide for Word Study with SAIL
Appendix J. Recognizing and Categorizing Cognates through Morphology, Anita C. Hernández & José A. Montelongo
Appendix K. Spanish Translations of Academic Vocabulary Relevant to Specific SAIL Components, Translated by Anita C. Hernández & José A. Montelongo
Index of Words Used in the Sorts

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Kathy Ganske, PhD, is Research Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. She has been involved in researching, using, refining, and teaching about word study practices since the 1990s. Dr. Ganske’s work is grounded in extensive teaching experience in elementary classrooms. Her current research interests include vocabulary development during small-group word study instruction and literacy reform in challenging schools. Dr. Ganske is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Word Journeys, Second Edition; Word Sorts and More, Second Edition; and Mindful of Words, Second Edition, as well as numerous articles and book chapters.


"Linking vocabulary development to spelling and writing is the foundation of Ganske's approach. This book shows how student talk and teacher observation are the focal points of effective teaching that makes students interested in words. Highlights of the second edition include practical insights from researchers and more explicit suggestions for working with multilingual learners. The new SAIL framework emphasizes the importance of connecting word study with students’ background knowledge. Providing concrete strategies and a rich array of instructional tools, this accessible resource for teachers and teacher educators expands our knowledge about what makes vocabulary so important."--Pamela A. Mason, EdD, Senior Lecturer and Director, Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“A great resource for upper-level word study. Ganske shares strategies and routines that can easily be incorporated into the instructional day through large- and small-group instruction, literacy stations, and independent study. Her systematic approach is well grounded in research and classroom experience. The book provides a sample script and suggested activities for each component, including a mini-lesson for academic vocabulary development and engagement activities that can be generalized to other lessons. Each word sort includes Talking Points and Considerations that informs the instructional delivery and allows teachers to differentiate appropriately for students. The SAIL lesson framework includes useful oral and written assessment components that focus on deeper understanding of word meanings."--Brit Sikes, EdS, literacy specialist, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee

"Filled with intriguing and delightful examples, this book will be an asset to upper-elementary and middle school English language arts teachers and reading specialists. The many examples of word lists and instructional practices include clear guidance on how to use the practices, with whom, and why. The second edition includes perspectives from literacy researchers as well as expert teachers, through firsthand accounts that expand on and provide grounding for Ganske's instructional recommendations."--Amy C. Crosson, EdD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Penn State College of Education