1st Edition

Vocabularians Integrated Word Study in the Middle Grades

By Brenda L. Overturf Copyright 2015

    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.-

    Introduction; Chapter 1: Why Focus on Vocabulary Development?; Chapter 2: Organizing for Middle Grades Vocabulary Development; Chapter 3: Words and Context; Chapter 4: Developing Morphological Awareness; Chapter 5: A Deeper Dive into Words and Phrases; Chapter 6: Creative Practice for Vocabulary Prowess; Chapter 7: Assessing Vocabulary Learning; Epilogue


    Brenda J. Overturf was a classroom teacher for eighteen years before she coordinated K–12 Reading Curriculum and Assessment for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. Brenda also served as chair of the M.Ed. in Reading program at the University of Louisville, and is a former member of the board of directors for the International Reading Association

    “I started reading Vocabularians and could not put it down!  Readers are given a glimpse into middle-level classrooms where the best of collaborative, classroom-based research unfolds to reveal what can happen when teachers across disciplines work together to help students increase their word knowledge.  Filled with resources, tools, strategies,students samples, assessments, and examples of inter-disciplinary planning, this is a book that needs to be a part of every PLC.” — Janet Allen, author of Tools for Teaching Academic Vocabulary