Vocabulary Is Comprehension
Getting to the Root of Text Complexity
Foreword by Kathy Ganske
English/Language Arts Common Core | Reading (Middle/High School) | Reading (Primary/Elementary)
Here is a reading riddle: What knowledge always precedes high-level text comprehension and yet seldom is given sufficient instructional time?
The answer: Word knowledge.
Our students can’t understand texts without knowing what words mean. It’s that simple. Meanwhile, in our rush toward complex texts, somehow we forget to put a new systematic vocabulary plan in place. In Vocabulary Is Comprehension, Laura Robb provides the instructional plan. And just wait until you see the results!
Laura’s plan takes just 10 to 15 minutes, and much of it is spent in partner and independent work so this is no “add on” to squeeze in. Even better, all materials are included. Each lesson features a student reproducible along with 50+ pieces of short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—or, if you prefer, use your own text.
Here’s how the plan works:
- Day 1: You read aloud the short text and students discuss the selected words in their context. Students work in pairs, rereading the text to understand words and phrases, and then share understandings as a class.
- Days 2 & 3: Students finish partner work and complete the reproducible.
Along the way, the 35+ lessons:
- Support complex text comprehension
- Cover academic vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings, figurative language, denotative and connotative meanings, Greek and Latin roots, and more
- Address specific CCSS vocabulary and writing standards
- Include strategies for ELLs and developing readers, and formative assessments
- Link to a wealth of online reproducibles, words lists, and printable complex texts
Laura surrounds these ready-to-teach lessons with the routines that help students read increasingly demanding texts across the curriculum. Students blog, tweet, and apply words in many different contexts . . . look out for related words in books, ads, and media . . . and many other collaborative activities that promote deep word knowledge rather than shallow word-defining. If you’re looking for a resource that will make all the difference as you address the new reach for rigorous, complex text reading, Vocabulary Is Comprehension is it.
An author, teacher, coach, and speaker, LAURA ROBB has spent the last four decades in middle school education. What teachers appreciate most about Laura is her deep commitment to children and adolescents, and her ability to show what best-practice instruction looks like day by day; a survey conducted by Instructor magazine named Laura as one of the nation’s top twenty educators. Currently, in addition to her speaking and consulting, she works part time in grades K-8.
“Although the importance of vocabulary knowledge for reading and learning is widely recognized, it isn’t every day that a book makes the connection between word savvy and engaged text reading so transparent and lively. . . . Laura Robb’s Vocabulary Is Comprehension is truly a book for the times and for the time-conscious middle-grades teacher. It’s one I look forward to having in my toolbox.”
“Laura Robb has this remarkable way of lassoing the galloping, impossible-to-meet mandates out there and wrestling them to the ground so they actually work in classrooms. In Vocabulary Is Comprehension, she shows teachers how to teach systematic, daily vocabulary in the context of authentic reading and a vital curriculum . . . making us grateful once again for Laura Robb and her efforts to help us all be better teachers.”
“The research is clear: the size of a student’s vocabulary at the end of twelfth grade is not only a strong indicator of whether college is attainable, but also a predictor of future income and success. Fortunately, Vocabulary Is Comprehension provides teachers with effective and practical ideas on how to strengthen our students’ knowledge of words. This is an essential book for helping students overcome word deficit and attain the greater freedom and power that comes with possessing a strong and sophisticated vocabulary.”
“Opening Laura Robb’s book is like unwrapping a gift box where you discover many other wondrous presents inside. Expertly aligned to the Common Core and to research-based practices, Laura provides teachers with what they’ve long needed: a simple set of principles for understanding all of the individual components of vocabulary along with practical tools for teaching vocabulary. . . . Lots of lessons. Lots of texts. Lots of reproducibles. Lots to love!”
“Laura Robb hasn’t just shown the best means for employing the most effective instructional strategy for improving word knowledge, she has also thought of every dimension of masterful classroom management to meet the needs of every child along the way. . . .This is a book that will have teachers excited for tomorrow’s vocabulary instruction and marveling at how fast students grow in their reading ability when they have tools to employ rather than just rote memorization.”