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Text Based Questions and Academic Vocabulary. Literacy Across Content Areas. High Priority of Common Core Standards.

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Text Based Questions and Academic Vocabulary

Literacy Across Content Areas


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High Priority of Common Core Standards

  • Teachers in all content areas must increase the amount of informational text a student reads throughout the day. This year ALL teachers will make shift to the CCS with two units.

  • Students must be reading texts closely and acquire knowledge from the text itself.

  • College and career readiness of students requires that students are reading and analyzing informational text through the use of text based questions.


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What is a text based question?

  • Questions that are text dependent and can only be answered by a close reading of the text.

  • The evidence in the response comes directly from the text and does not depend on information from outside sources.

  • Text dependent questions require an understanding that extends beyond recalling basic facts.


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Why use text based questions?

  • Text based questions build a critical foundation of knowledge needed for comprehending texts.

  • It increases students’ ability to read with understanding .

  • As students’ reading skills and foundation of knowledge increase, they expand their capacity to read increasing levels of complex text with understanding.


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Which of the following questions requires students to read text closely for text specific information?

  • 1. How did Frederick Douglass’ ability to read contribute to his emotional struggle for freedom? Cite examples from the text to support your answer.

  • 2. After reading Frederick Douglass’ narrative, In what ways does America represent the hope for freedom that lived in the heart of Frederick Douglass?


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Creating Text Based Questions text closely for text specific information?

  • Gettysburg Address Exemplar

  • http://engageny.org/resource/the-gettysburg-address-a-curricular-exemplar-in-literacy/

  • Blooms Taxonomy/Create Questions


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General Questions About a Specific Text: May have to follow up with “Cite from the text.”

  • What is the problem or question that motivates the author?

  • From what context is the author writing?

  • What assumptions does the author bring to the text?

  • What argument is the author putting forth?

  • What contradictions do you find in the text? Why are they there? How do they affect your understanding of the text?

  • What evidence does the author use to support his or her assertions? Why?

  • How is the text structured? What effect does this have?

  • What rhetorical choices (style and word choice) does the author make?

  • What are the key passages in the text?


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Text Based Questions up with “Cite from the text.”

  • Prepares students to be independent learners

  • Increases students’ capacity for close reading and provides access to increasing levels of complex text.


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Academic Vocabulary up with “Cite from the text.”


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  • Research suggests that if students are going to grasp and retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

  • (Landauer & Dumais, 1997; Landauer, McNamara, Dennis, & Kintsch, 2007; Nagy, Herman, & Anderson, 1985).


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3 Tiers of Vocabulary retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

  • Tier 1 – Basic Words – Most cannot be demonstrated and do not have multiple meanings, but students will need to know them. Sight words would be found at this level.

  • Tier 2 – Words occur in high frequency. Found in a variety of domains. Estimates indicate that there are about 7,000 words for tier 2 or 700 words per year. These words are considered Academic Vocabulary that can be used across a student’s day in various classroom situations.

  • Tier 3 – Words with a low frequency of use, often limited to special, specific domains.

  • They are best learned when a specific need arises. (Content area words)

  • Words like: igneous, metamorphic, Revolutionary War, economics


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More Tier Two retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

  • Tier two words are…

  • Not unique to a particular discipline and as a result, are not the clear responsibility of a specific content area teacher.

  • They are frequently encountered in complex written texts and are particularly powerful because of their wide applicability to many sorts of reading.


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Academic Vocabulary Words retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

  • Handout http://www.doe.in.gov/TitleI/pdf/Word_List_Feldman.pdf

  • One “test” of whether a word meets the Tier Two criterion of being a useful addition to students’ repertoires is to think about whether the students already have ways to express the concepts represented by the words.

  • Would students be able to explain these words using words that are already well known to them?


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  • Some Criteria for Identifying Tier Two retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.Words

  • ■ Importance and utility: Words that are characteristic of mature language users and appear frequently across a variety of domains.

  • ■ Instructional potential: Words that can be worked with in a variety of ways so that students can build rich representations of them and of their connections to other words and concepts.

  • ■ Conceptual understanding: Words for which students understand the general concept but provide precision and specificity in describing the concept.


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Activity retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.Choose Tier Two Words from the following passage:

  • The servants would never comment on this strange occurrence [finding the kitchen clean even though none of them were seen doing the cleaning], each servant hoping the other had tended to the chores. Never would they mention the loud noises they’d hear emerging from the kitchen in the middle of the night. Nor would they admit to pulling the covers under their chins as they listened to the sound of haunting laughter that drifted down the halls to their bedrooms each night. In reality, they knew there was a more sinister reason behind their good fortune.


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Which words did you select? retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

Tier Two words Students’ likely expressions

  • comment something someone has to say

  • occurrence something happening

  • tended took care of

  • mention tell

  • emerging coming out

  • admit to say you did something

  • haunting scary

  • reality being read

  • sinister scary

  • fortune luck


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For next time… retain words and comprehend text, they need incremental, repeated exposure in a VARIETY OF CONTEXTS to the words they are trying to learn.

  • Each grade level, please select 5 academic vocabulary words that you will consistently use across curriculum for the year.

  • Choose sophisticated, high frequency words.

  • Look at state tests and examine the academic vocabulary there.


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