Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Topic: Vocabulary and Literature-based Programs

10-second review: This article appeared in 1998 while the basal/whole language wars were still being fought (in professional journals, anyway). The point of the article is that using children’s literature in teaching reading provides the opportunity to teach a rich vocabulary.

Title: “Vocabulary Teaching and Learning in a Seventh-Grand Literature-based Classroom.” JM Harmon. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy (April 1998), 518-529. A publication of the International Reading Association (IRA).

Summary: “Thus, vocabulary teaching was an important aspect of the literacy experiences in this literature-based program.”

Direct vocabulary instruction plus indirect (learning from context) development of vocabulary.

Pre-teaching words likely to be unfamiliar.

Students were “vocabulary enrichers” who selected words to discuss.

Comment: I think today (2008) we’re beyond the basal vs. whole language conflict. The basal (sequenced phonics and graded word lists) and whole language (using children’s literature and trade books for rich vocabulary and interesting ideas) are used together. Still, this article suggested several helpful ways in which vocabulary was enriched while using children’s books. RayS.

This blog, English Education Archives, reviews articles of contemporary interest from past English education journals.

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