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The Reading Process: Knitters of Language. Nicole Medina Merging of the Minds 2012. The new learning of today becomes the schema of tomorrow. Knowledge. Thinking. Information. +. =. ~Stephanie Harvey, IRA 2012. Read Aloud: Mentor Texts. “Read aloud is your pay-it-forward.”

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the reading process knitters of language

The Reading Process:Knitters of Language

Nicole Medina

Merging of the Minds 2012

the new learning of today becomes the schema of tomorrow
The new learning of today becomes the schema of tomorrow.






~Stephanie Harvey, IRA 2012

read aloud mentor texts
Read Aloud: Mentor Texts
  • “Read aloud is your pay-it-forward.”
    • Creates schema
    • Produces mentor texts for writing
    • Models fluency
    • Creates opportunities for speaking and listening

~Dr. Jan Burkins, IRA 2012

in the beginning
In the beginning…

“Children first learn to listen and speak, then use these and other skills to explore reading and writing. Like child development in general, language development is interrelated. Children who have many opportunities to listen and speak tend to become skilled readers and writers. Children who can put their ideas in writing become better readers. Children who are read to often, learn to love reading and become better listeners, speakers, and writers.”! ~

baby brains
Baby Brains
  • Babies are born with 100 billion brain cells, called neurons – almost all they will ever have.
  • Neurons are not yet connected into networks as they will be when the brain is mature.
  • Connections are made as brain cells send signals to and receive input from each other. A single cell can connect with as many as 15,000 other cells.
  • The resulting network of connections is called the brain’s wiring or circuitry.


closing windows
Closing Windows
  • Shortly after birth a baby’s brain produces trillions more connections between neurons than it can possibly use.
  • By age 3, the child’s brain has formed 1,000 trillion connections – twice as many as in an adult brain.
  • Beginning at about age 10, the child’s brain begins getting rid of the extra connections and gradually creates a more powerful and efficient circuitry.
  • The brain permanently retains the connections that are used repeatedly in the early years and eliminates connections that are seldom or never used.
  • The window for acquiring syntax may close as early as 5 or 6 years old – still possible to learn, but more difficult.


why you re here
Why you’re here

We’re putting our money on YOU! No workbook, worksheet, intervention, or PD can impact kids the special way that you can. Your understanding, and delivery of it, directly affects the success of the students in your classroom.

language confusion
Language Confusion
  • Notice what strategies you use.
  • Think about complexity (how hard it is, what kind of thinking do you have to do)
  • Read the book.
  • What did you notice?
simpler still
Simpler still…



  • Print
  • Alphabet
  • Repetition
  • Patterning
  • Pictures
  • Structure
  • Predictions
  • First letter
  • Content
  • Frustration
  • Peers-models
  • Letter similarities
  • Lower and upper case

~ Dr. Jan Burkins, IRA 2012










~ Dr. Jan Burkins, IRA 2012







now that we know
Now that we know…
  • Print/Story Dependent?
  • Pay-it-forward with Read Aloud
  • Build on the known
so how do we build what is not known
So, how do we build what is not known?!


Modeled Instruction

I do

WE Teach!!!!

Shared Instruction

We do

You do


Guided Practice

You do


Independent Practice


on your wall
On your wall…

“Read like a writer.”

“Write like a reader.”

“In reading, meaning is build from texts and in composing, meaning is built for text” (Nelson, 1998, p. 279).

article ah ha
Article Ah-ha
  • Please choose an article about one of the following topics to read:
    • Vocabulary
    • Fluency
    • Comprehension
    • Text Complexity
  • Be prepared to tell the group one ah-ha you had.

~Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System I

the caf flexible groups on fluency
The CAFÉ – Flexible Groups on Fluency

“It is the skill that focuses the group, not the level.”

~ Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

the matthew effect
The Matthew Effect

Spelling Tests 

  • “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

~Matthew 29:25

  • The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.
  • Research indicates that past the 4th grade, literacy intervention and remediation programs are only successful with about 13% of struggling readers.
vocabulary and iq
Vocabulary and IQ
  • Intelligence: Anderson and Freebody note that “the strong relationship between vocabulary and general intelligence is one of the most robust findings in the history of intelligence testing” (quoted in Marzano, 2004, p.32). Vocabulary scores correlate more highly with intelligence levels than any other individual measure. That’s why standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and GRE have a vocabulary component.
  • Reading: Farley and Elmore studied college students enrolled in remedial reading. They found that vocabulary was the only statistically significant predictor of various reading skills. According to Fisher and Frey (2008), research confirms that “…students with smaller vocabularies and lower comprehension levels read with more trepidation, question the text less, and fail to notice when they don’t understand something” (p.4).
  • Predictor of Academic Success: Reading comprehension has been repeatedly shown to be a good predictor of academic success at the high school and college levels. So the chain is complete: vocabulary is an excellent predictor of academic success. Vocabulary truly is at the center – not only of the ELA classroom, but in all of the content areas.

~Benjamin and Crow 2010

let s get physical
Let’s Get Physical!!

“Vocabulary, then, is to academic learning whatcardiovascular strength is to fitness. And just as most people have to go out of their way to achieve cardiovascular fitness by working out (rather than relying on their ordinary activities to build sufficient strength), educators have to be deliberate and conscious about improving students’ vocabulary.” ~Benjamin and Crow 2010

flashcards and worksheets
Flashcards and Worksheets?
  • A word is “…the label associated with a packet of knowledge stored in permanent memory.” ~Robert Marzano in Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement
  • These packets are what he refers to as background knowledge (aka schema).
  • Research has consistently shown that definitional learning alone does not make a significant contribution to reading comprehension. ~Benjamin and Crow 2010
synergy enhances learning
Synergy enhances learning
  • Stand and walk over to someone else in the room. Face him or her. Tell him what you learned. Your partner will do the same.
  • Then come back and write (for two minutes) what you learned from your partner.
planning for vocabulary
Planning for Vocabulary

Rich and Varied Language Experiences

Teach Individual Words



Foster Word Consciousness

Teach Word-Learning Strategies

choosing the vocabulary
Choosing the Vocabulary
  • Tier 1: Basic words such as milk, smile, and jump. Rarely require instructional attention.
  • Tier 2: Appear frequently in a wide variety of texts and provide mature language users with precise ways to refer to familiar ideas. Words such as darting, exceptional, and rummage are examples. Tier Two words represent the bulk of vocabulary instruction. These words need to be posted and kept in circulation so that students practice applying them in varied contexts over an extended period of time.
  • Tier 3: Words such inlet, quadrilateral, and isotope. Typically emphasized as part of a thematic or content area instruction. Posting these words on a topic wall encourages their use when discussing or writing on specific topics.
text complexity
Text Complexity
  • Qualitative: levels of meaning or purpose; structure; language conventionality and clarity; and knowledge demands
  • Quantitative: word length or frequency, sentence length, and text cohesion, that are difficult if not impossible for a human reader to evaluate efficiently, especially in long texts, and are thus today typically measured by computer software (Lexile)
  • Reader and Task: variables of particular readers (motivation, knowledge, and experiences) and to particular tasks (such as purpose and the complexity of the task assigned and the questions posed)
happy reading

Happy Reading!

“Read, read, read and write, write, write.” ~Ernest Gaines

  • Benjamin, A. & Crow, J. (2010)Vocabulary at the Center . &
  • Boushey, G. & Moser, J (2009) The Daily CAFÉ
  • Burkins, J.M. & Croft, M.M. (2010) Preventing Misguided Reading: New Strategies for Guided Reading Teachers
  • Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G.S. Benchmark Assessment System
  • Graves, M. (2009) Essential Readings on Vocabulary Instruction
  • Marzano, R. (2004) Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement
  • Nelson, N.(1998). Reading and Writing Contextualized. In Nelson, N. & R. Calfee (Eds.). The Reading and Writing Connection (pp.266-285). The Ninety-Seventh Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Part II). Chicago, IL: The National Society for the Study of Education.