Academic Vocabulary for Middle School Students: Research-Based Lists and Strategies for Key Content Areas

By Wolf, Beverly J. | Perspectives on Language and Literacy, December 2015 | Go to article overview

Academic Vocabulary for Middle School Students: Research-Based Lists and Strategies for Key Content Areas


Wolf, Beverly J., Perspectives on Language and Literacy


Academic Vocabulary for Middle School Students: Research-Based Lists and Strategies for Key Content Areas Jennifer Wells Greene and Averil Jean Coxhead Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co. Paperback. 192 pages. 2015.

This multipurpose book is a combination teaching tool, vocabulary list, and teacher-training guide. It would serve well as a useful resource for teacher education students or practicing teachers. It has the added advantage of providing detailed activities focusing on middle school vocabulary in well-organized word lists. The purpose of the book is to share the middle school vocabulary lists with teachers, materials designers, and other professionals; to shape the readers' understanding of the different kinds of vocabulary found in content-area textbooks; and to provide ideas for presenting these words in the classroom. Although the book was written for teachers of middle school students, it offers activities that could be adapted downward to intermediate grade students and used with appropriately leveled word lists.

Teacher Background

Anticipation activities, information, and discussion questions provide a format for pre-service, in-service, and selfdirected learning about key concepts related to vocabulary, creation of middle school vocabulary lists, planning, instructional activities, and testing.

Student Activities

Fourteen activities provide variety and balance of learning opportunities consistent with Nation's (2014) principles for teaching and learning vocabulary: meaning-focused input, meaning-focused output, language-focused learning, and developing fluency.

The authors make each lesson easy to use by providing a description, rationale, detailed steps for implementation, "fix ups," and extensions. The "fix ups" recognize that not all students will respond in the same ways and show teachers how to reinforce skills and to customize activities for students with diverse learning needs (e.g., English language learners). …

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