New Teacher Advocate Winter 2013 : Page 3 Resources Common core and text complexity: Your state’s department of education website: McGraw-Hill Education Online: Engage NY: Vocabulary building: Blachowicz, C., & Fisher, P. J. (2010). Teaching vocabulary in all classrooms , 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Kame’enui, E., & Baumann, J. F. (Eds.). (2010). Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice , 2nd ed. New York: The Guilford Press. Spencer, B. H., & Guillaume, A. M. (2009). 35 strategies for developing content area vocabulary . Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Background knowledge development: Fisher, D., & Frey. N. (2009). Background knowledge: The missing piece of the com-prehension puzzle . Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books. Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievement: Research on what works in schools . Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Building students’ reading stamina: Reading Rockets. Building reading stamina . Enmer, A. Reading stamina . (2011). 2. Develop your students’ vocabularies. Vocabulary is closely linked to concept development and is highly related to reading comprehension. Vocabulary instruction demands a rich language environment and should be taught directly through explicit methods. Explicit instruction should include active student engagement and repeated exposure to vocabulary in a variety of contexts (Hiebert, 2012; Shanahan et al., 2012). In addition to teaching specific words, it is important to include the study of morphology and word parts, such as prefixes, suffixes, and root words. 3. Focus on developing your students’ background knowledge. Teachers need to activate students’ prior knowledge and build background for those who lack it before introducing new content. This requires teachers to make very explicit connections between what has been taught in the past and the new concepts to be learned. Common core demands that students connect their real lives to classroom concepts through applications, examples, and writing assignments. Teachers cannot build “more” background knowledge until their students have acquired the building blocks of basic information. 4. Build students’ reading stamina. Reading stamina is the ability to focus and read independently for extended periods of time without being distracted and without distracting others. Elementary students should strive for 20 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading time and secondary students should work toward 40 minutes. Begin with simple strategies, such as: • Set a goal (start with 15−20 minutes) with your students for them to sit and read independently without interruption. Start small and build to your target reading time. • Encourage each child to keep a graph or log of his or her independent reading times. 5. Explicitly teach students how to identify the critical ideas that are central to understanding the text. Determining importance is a strategy readers use to discriminate between what information in a text is important versus what information may be interesting but not necessary for understanding. This strategy is essential to the comprehension of complicated nonfiction text. Teachers need to explicitly and systematically teach students how to find the most important information as they read. All teachers will have challenges in imple-menting the common core standards. Getting ready requires preparing ourselves as well as our students. References Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2010). Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Retrieved from Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2012). Text complexity. Principal Leadership , 12 (5), 62−64. Hiebert, E. H. (2012). 7 Actions that teachers can take right now: Text complexity. Retrieved from Shanahan, T., Fisher D., & Frey, N. (2012). The challenge of challenging text. Educational Leadership , 69 (6), 58−62. Dr. Mariotti is a retired classroom teacher, staff development trainer, reading specialist, and program evaluator. She teaches reading courses at the University of South Florida and the Educators Preparation Institute at Hillsborough Community College. Dr. Schwartz has been a classroom teacher, district trainer, intern supervisor, college instructor, service learning project coordinator, and reading specialist. She is a Middle School Reading Coach in Hillsborough County and teaches reading courses for the Educators Preparation Institute at Hillsborough Community College. New Teacher Advocate • Winter 2013 • 3

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