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Jennifer W. Greene Dimensions of Dyslexia Conference Atlanta, GA February 20, 2016

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  • Jennifer W. GreeneDimensions of Dyslexia Conference

    Atlanta, GAFebruary 20, 2016

  • } What kinds of vocabulary exist in written academic texts?

    } How can we use technology to identify academic vocabulary in the texts our students read in their courses?

    } How can we make academic words important for our students?

  • Task #1:

    Grab an arm buddy (or two).Talk about academic language.Note down your key descriptors.Give 3-5 examples of academic language.

    We will come back to this task later during this session.

  • } High-Frequency Vocabulary} Academic Vocabulary} Technical Vocabulary

    } Low-Frequency Vocabulary} Proper Nouns

  • High-Frequency Vocabulary: } 2,000 word families, which cover 80% of written text. General Service List (West, 1953)Many of these words are function words (e.g., articles, determiners, prepositions, forms of the copula BE, and so on.) These words are more difficult to learn than content words (e.g., tree, child, run).

  • High frequency vocabulary:

    General service vocabulary 2,000 words (West, 1953) Why is this list important?

    (coverage figures) see John Baumans

    website; http://jbauman.com/

    Top ten words of the GSL:thebeofandatoinhehaveit

  • Compleat Lexical Tutor (Cobb, n.d.; go to http://www.lextutor.ca/)K1 Words (1-1000); K2 Words (1001-2000) ; Not Found

    When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prims warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

    I prop myself up on one elbow. Theres enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mothers body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prims face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

    Collins, S. (2012). The Hunger Games. NY: Scholastic Press.

  • Academic vocabulary is: Not part of high-frequency vocabulary. Not frequent in literary texts. Frequent across written texts in multiple content

    areas. Often contain Greek or Latin roots. Supportive to the topic rather than central to the


    Coxhead (2000)

  • } How have academic vocabulary lists been made?

    Manual frequency counts Intuition and voting Computer software and text analysis

  • Corpus researchers organize words into word families. This makes sense because there is strong evidence that words are stored by meaning in the lexicon.

    Here is an example of a word family:significant

    insignificantinsignificantlysignificancesignificantly signifiedsignifiessignifysignifying

  • Coverage of the GSL and the AWLof the Academic Corpus (3.5 million words; university-level text; written corpus)

    (Coxhead, 2000)

    First 1,000 GSL 1,000 families71.4%Second 1,000 GSL 968 families4.7%Academic Word List 570 families10.0%Total2,538 families86.1%

    Ten most frequent words of theAWL:


    income section structure policy economyprocess research vary issue

  • GSL 1K and 2k AWL Not Found

    Advances have also been made in the creation of legal frameworks for the management of the environment, thus providing a new basis for addressing environmental issues. The time is now ripe to seek truly lasting, more rational solutions to environmental problems. It wouldnt be a problem if there were only one person farming shrimp. It is the huge number of people who want to eat shrimp and who need ways to make a living that makes this local problem a worldwide one. In this chapterwe introduce the six themes with brief examples, showing the linkages among them and touching on the importance of specific knowledge that will be the concern of the rest of the book.

    (Environmental Sciences, Chapter 1)

  • 111 total words61 word types

    GSL 84.50%AWL 12.61%Not found 3.61%

    Taken together, the words on the GSL, AWL, and cover 97.11% of the words in this text sample. Implications??

  • Content AreaGeneral Service

    List (%)

    Middle School Vocabulary List

    (%) Total (%)English Grammar & Writing 82.14 6.83 88.97

    Health 82.73 8.70 91.43

    Mathematics 79.64 9.29 88.93

    Science 79.09 10.17 89.26Social Studies & History 77.91 5.83 83.74

  • } We know the importance of high-frequencyvocabulary.

    } We know how corpus researchers identify high-frequency words and academic words.

    } We know about the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) and the Middle School Vocabulary Lists (Greene & Coxhead, 2015)

    But there is a technical vocabulary that students need to recognize and use as part of academic language. What do we do about those words??

  • Technical vocabulary words are:

    Frequent within a specific discipline or content area.

    Often bolded and/or glossed in a textbook. Frequently defined within the text.

  • English Grammar & Writing

    Health List Mathematics Science Social Studies & History

    topic physical equation energy chapter

    paragraph alcohol graph chapter section

    pronoun drug area cell region

    phrase stress chapter data constitution

    compound healthful data chemical major

    adjective conflict percent section culture

    chapter affect fraction area area

    predicate vocabulary triangle oxygen civil

    adverb adult decimal carbon economic

    essay identify math atmosphere goods

  • In English, a very small number of words do the majority of the work.

    Beyond high-frequency, academic, and technical vocabulary, there is low-frequency vocabulary.

    Low-frequency words just arent used very often (e.g. gobbet, gibbous).

    One persons technical vocabulary is another persons low-frequency vocabulary (Nation, 2013, p. 29).

  • Are proper nouns high-frequency vocabulary? Technical Vocabulary? Or are they something else?

    Katniss in The Hunger Games novels Parkinson and Lou Gehrig Katrina The Boer Wars Gettysburg Address

    We need to make instructional decisions about the proper nouns our students encounter.

  • The Compleat Lexical Tutor (Cobb, n.d.) is your friend!

    } Go to: http://www.lextutor.ca/} Click on VocabProfile} Click on VP Classic v.4} Choose your disciplines folder from your CD.} Open the text file from your folder.} Copy the text and paste it into the text window of the

    VocabProfiler.} Watch admiringly as the VocabProfiler does the work for

    you.} Take a look at the results.} Next Repeat these steps with the chapter from The

    Hunger Games. What do you notice about the differences in the vocabulary profiles of these two texts?

  • } http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/staff/paul-nation

    } Range! allows you to: Use any word list you prefer; Identify words from multiple texts at the same time.

  • } The Frequency Principle

    } The Repetition Principle

    } The Principle of Spaced Retrieval

    } The Principle of Avoiding Interference

    } The Generation Principle

  • Now that we know the important words, how do we make them important for our students?

    Anecdote: Jennifer learns to read academic texts.

  • Classroom word-learning activities should be balanced in the areas of:

    Reading and listening

    Writing and speaking

    Language-focused learning


  • Learning new words through reading and listening

    Jigsaw reading Narrow reading Close reading Teachers prioritize using academic

    vocabulary in the classroom.

    See Greene & Coxhead (2015) for more information about these activities.

  • Learning new words through writing and speaking

    Concept mapping Synthesizing Quick talks Quick writing

    See Greene & Coxhead (2015) for more information about these activities.

  • Traditional word study activities such as:} Investigating the company words keep in texts.} Focusing on aspects of words through direct

    instruction (spelling, grammar, pronunciation).} Using strategies to enhance vocabulary learning

    (word sorting; vocab journals and cards; semantic feature analysis; cognate strategies; word building)

    See Greene & Coxhead (2015) for more information about these activities.

  • The word is on the tip of my tongue!

    Fluency activities are timed speaking and writing activities with gradual decreases in timed increments.

    } Quick Talks (4-3-2 for fluency)} Quick Writing

    See Greene & Coxhead (2015) for more information about these activities.

  • Look back at the notes you made at the beginning of this session.

    Chat with your partner about one or two big takeaways you have based on this session.

  • } Different kinds of vocabulary

    } Identifying academic vocabulary

    } Internet resources

    } Steps we can take to make academic words important for our students

    } Using the Charrette Protocol to brainstorm activities for our classrooms.

  • What questions do you have?

    Jennifers contact information:[email protected](470) 955-0452

  • Bauman, J. (n.d.) John Bauman. Available at http://jbauman.com/ on May 9, 2015.Cobb, T. (n.d.) The Compleat Lexical Tutor. Available at http://www.lextutor.ca/) on May

    9, 2015.Collins, S. (2012). The Hunger Games. NY: Scholastic Press.Coxhead, A. (n.d.) The Academic Word List. Available from

    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/Coxhead, A. (2006). Essentials of teaching academic vocabulary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Coxhead, A. (2000) A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly 34, 2, 213 238. Erten, I.H., & Razi, S. (2009). The effects of cultural familiarity on reading comprehension.

    Reading in a Foreign Language, 21, 60-77.Greene, J.W., & Coxhead, A. (2015). Academic vocabulary for middle school students:

    Research-based lists and strategies for key content areas. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Heatley, A., Nation, P., & Coxhead, A. (2002). Range [Computer software]. Retrieved from

    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/about/staff/paul-nationNation, I.S.P. (2007). The four strands. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1, 1:

    1-12.Nation, I. S. P. (2014). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge

    University Press.West, M. (1953). A general service list of English words. Longman: London.