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Word Play: Building Vocabulary Across Texts and Disciplines, Grades 6-12 [Paperback]

Sandra Whitaker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 12, 2008 0325013721 978-0325013725 First Printing 11 - 17 years
 
I could have done a much better job of empowering my students with language had I had this book as a young teacher.
- Carol Ann Tomlinson
Author of The Differentiated Classroom
 
Vocabulary is key - to comprehension, to deep academic understanding, to communication. But with so many words and so little instructional time, how can teachers ensure that students do more than merely memorize word lists? That they make words their own and use them well in all their reading, writing, and speaking activities? In Word Play, Sandra Whitaker, a National Board Certified Teacher, leads the way to effective, meaningful vocabulary instruction that helps students in every subject area.
 
With Word Play you'll teach so that students don't just what know what words mean, but how they convey meaning and what their appropriate uses are. Three aspects of learning must work together for successful vocabulary instruction, and Whitaker details what they are and how to teach them:
  • Morphemic structure - where words come from, how they are formed, and how they can be changed to form new words
  • Conceptual meaning makers - the small but important group of context-specific terms that support meaning making within assigned texts but are rarely used outside those texts
  • Academic vocabulary - cross-discipline and discipline-specific words that support learning by helping students determine meanings in relation to the subjects they study and use precise language to communicate their thinking.
 
Whitaker makes the theoretical practical, presenting the theory and research behind high-quality instruction, then following up with engaging, interesting ways for students to practice all three aspects of vocabulary. You'll replace monotonous memorization with enjoyable activities that capitalize on adolescents' natural interest in words and language. Illustrating her strategies with student samples and stories from real classrooms, Whitaker even presents ideas for differentiation that make vocabulary instruction accessible for all students.
 
Give the gift of language. Put away the boring word lists and teach in ways that promote usage, not memorization. You'll encourage a deeper understanding of texts across the curriculum and provide avenues for students to express their thinking more precisely. Put joy into words with Word Play.

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Word Play: Building Vocabulary Across Texts and Disciplines, Grades 6-12 + Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (5th Edition) (Words Their Way Series)
Price for both: $74.97

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sandra K. Whitaker, a National Board Certified Teacher in English Language Arts, has spent much of her career working with struggling readers and writers and is deeply concerned with issues of literacy, access, and differentiation. Throughout her career, she has served the education community as a teacher, building-level administrator, curriculum developer, and curriculum coordinator. A nationally known speaker and consultant, she is also the author of Advocacy for School Leaders: Becoming a Strong Voice for Education.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 17 years
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann; First Printing edition (March 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325013721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325013725
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #999,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words? Emphasis on Play! August 12, 2009
Format:Paperback
Attn teachers: Sandra Whitaker's WORD PLAY just might be the cavalry coming over the hill to rescue your vocabulary program. This is especially the case if you are merely giving your kids a list of words every week (or every other) and quizzing them on Fridays (only to realize that they've forgotten 90% of said words within a month).

What's great about Whitaker's book is that she first provides the theory and then lays down the practical applications, complete with concrete, ready-to-roll-out-in-the-classroom activities. Furthermore, she inserts sideboxes called "Step Into a Classroom" to give you a fly-on-the-wall view of how the strategies worked in Virginia classrooms she observed. Finally, Whitaker offers differentiation advice so you can make the activities easier (for IEP or ELL students) or more difficult (for Honors or Gifted & Talented students).

She emphasizes teaching morphemes (the smallest portion of a word that carries a meaning) and affixes (that's prefixes and suffixes to you). Lecturing? Quizzing? Hardly. Such "dry fare" must be gussied up with fun and games -- only these "games" are educational and get results. Whitaker also offers advice on how to teach key academic vocabulary across the curriculum and how to invite etymology into the fray.

Read the book and hie thee to Staples for colored index cards and sticky notes. As a teacher, you probably already love words, their history, their humor, and their protean flexibility. So why hog all the fun when you can share it with the kids? With this as a guidebook, you can choose two or three strategies to start and be on your way. I know I'll be trying it this year, and I'm excited about the possibilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice for vocab instruction June 14, 2010
By ktedid
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful. It is filled with vocabulary strategies that kids love. They are easy and adaptable to all grade levels. I love it - it is my vocabulary go-to book.
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