Bodong Chen

Crisscross Landscapes

Notes: Ford-Connors2015-dd: Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth Grade and Beyond: Sources of Word Learning and Productive Contexts for Development



Citekey: @Ford-Connors2015-dd

Ford-Connors, E., & Paratore, J. R. (2015). Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth Grade and Beyond: Sources of Word Learning and Productive Contexts for Development. Review of Educational Research, 85(1), 50–91.






Synthesizing the literature around the general topics of vocabu- lary instruction, classroom discourse, and teacher talk, this review provides a comprehensive and critical examination of instruction that supports vocab- ulary learning in older students with a particular focus on practices that promote productive discussions of content. (p. 1)

Although, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2013) report, the percentage of eighth-grade students achieving reading proficiency has increased slightly (from 30% in 2011 to 32% in 2013), the overall result is the same: Only one third of those tested comprehend text proficiently. (p. 1)

a large gap remains between minority and nonminority students (NAEP, 2013). (p. 1)

Alvermann (2001, p. 4) argued that “basic level literacy is insufficient in today’s world (p. 1)

If young people are to succeed in a world that is dominated by ever-changing digital tech- nologies, and accordingly new literacies, and ever-growing competition in a global economy, they will need to acquire and maintain high levels of literacy skill and analytical ability. (p. 1)

Students with large vocabularies demonstrate stronger reading comprehension and score higher on standardized achievement tests than their peers with smaller vocabularies (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986). Moreover, vocabulary knowledge is closely linked to students’ long-term aca- demic achievement (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997; National Reading Panel, 2000), and limited vocabulary has been linked to the achievement gap for students of color, English language learners, and students with learning disabilities (Biemiller & Slonim, 2001; Proctor, Carlo, August, & Snow, 2005). (p. 2)

increasing evi- dence of positive influences of classroom discussion on students’ text comprehen- sion and learning (e.g., Murphy, Wilkinson, Soter, Hennessey, & Alexander, 2009; Soter et al., 2008), and we wondered to what extent classroom discussion also exerted an influence on vocabulary learning (p. 2)

We set our sights on students in Grades 5 through 12 for two reasons. First, researchers have identified that literacy learning of young ado- lescents as an area in need of greater attention (e.g., Biancarosa & Snow, 2004). Second, as students advance through the grades, the texts they are expected to read increase in both concept density and linguistic complexity. As a result, both knowing words and also knowing how to derive meanings of unfamiliar words has more importance in achieving text understanding, thus helping realize a level of reading proficiency that will prepare students for success in and out of school. (p. 2)

We next examine the nature of word learning, with a focus on what it means to know a word. (p. 2)

Background for the Study (p. 2)

Vocabulary’s Connection to Comprehension (p. 2)

The exact relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension is not well understood (Harmon, 1998; National Reading Panel, 2000; Pearson, Hiebert, & Kamil, 2007). Although vocabulary is recognized as a predictor of reading comprehension, it also develops as a result of reading (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002). (p. 2)

A second proposes that gen- eral knowledge of the world supports both vocabulary and text comprehension, with all three connected through mental schema (e.g., Anderson & Freebody, 1981). (p. 2)

A fourth suggests that the relationship of vocabulary to reading compre- hension is likely bidirectional and reciprocal, with comprehension and vocabulary influencing each other recursively, and with both connected to reading volume (Nagy, 2005). (p. 3)

In undertaking this review, we considered these hypotheses not as competing theories but as evidence of an intricate network of skills, knowledge, and cogni- tive processes that are multidirectional, reciprocal, and that, at different points in time and in different contexts, exert more or less influence on each other. (p. 3)

The Nature of Word Learning (p. 3)

Word knowledge exists as a rich network of information in which words are connected to mental schema, prior experience, and associations with other words, concepts, and ideas. Knowledge of a word thus extends well beyond its definition to include not only the ability to recognize a word but also to instantly access information about it and to create meaning from spoken or written texts. In fact, word knowledge is “primarily procedural rather than declarative, a matter of ‘knowing how’ rather than ‘knowing that’ … knowing a word means being able to do things with it,” such that “word knowledge is applied knowledge” (Nagy & Scott, 2000, p. 273). (p. 3)

its development as a gradual process that occurs over time and through an accumulation of experi- ences and exposures to words and related ideas (p. 3)

Dale (1965) represented the multidimensional and incremental nature of word knowledge as four levels or stages of knowing: (a) having no idea of a word’s meaning, (b) having heard it but not knowing its meaning, © recognizing it in context as related to a particular category or idea, and (d) understanding its mean- ing in a variety of contexts. Paribakht and Wesche (1996) added a fifth stage, suggesting that the ability to accurately use the word in speaking and writing is the ultimate marker of mastery of the word’s meaning. (p. 3)

Nagy and Scott (2000) further explained dimensions of word knowledge as incrementality, that is, word learning is a process that occurs in small steps; poly- semy, that is, the same word can have different meanings or similar, but nuanced, meanings; multidimensionality, that is, word knowledge includes various forms, including spoken, written, grammatical function, location with other words, rela- tionships to other words, frequency of use, and conceptual meaning (Nation, 1990); interrelatedness, that is, connectedness to other words, categories, con- cepts, and ideas; and heterogeneity, that is, those aspects of word knowledge that influence what one knows about the word. Vermeer (2001) likened word knowl- edge to “nodes in a network” (p. 218), linked across numerous dimensions that include both breadth and depth of knowledge, with denser networks indicating greater knowledge of and about a word. Word knowledge is thus far more than simple labels or definitions but rather a deep network that holds crucial (p. 3)

connections to language development and growth in general knowledge. When viewed together, these multiple dimensions illumine the complexity of word knowledge and suggest not only its influence on reading comprehension but also its fundamental role in general knowledge acquisition. (p. 4)

given the significant differences in vocabulary knowledge that children bring to the classroom. Disparities in children’s vocabulary, evident as early as preschool, persist into students’ later elementary and middle school years, with consequences for learning and success in school (e.g., Biemiller & Slonim, 2001; Hart & Risley, 1995; Proctor et al., 2005). (p. 4)

The work of Beck, McKeown, and their colleagues (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982; McKeown, Beck, Omanson, & Perfetti, 1983; McKeown, Beck, Omanson, & Pople, 1985), conducted with younger (fourth-grade) students, helped establish an understanding of instructional conditions that improve vocabulary learning. (p. 4)

deep vocab- ulary learning is realized when vocabulary instruction (a) develops both defini- tional knowledge and understanding of a word’s broad range of semantic connections and related concepts, (b) provides many exposures to target words in multiple contexts (McKeown et al., 1983), and © requires that students justify and explain their reasoning as they make associations among words. (p. 4)

this type of instructional approach is not commonplace in middle or secondary school instruction. (p. 4)

The common practices identified by these studies do little to increase students’ vocabulary, and an instructional focus on definitional information may actually lead to misinterpretations about word meaning. (p. 5)

Scott and Nagy postulated that definitions offered little learning support because “the language of definitions is in some sense an extreme version of literate language—even more decontextualized, more terse, and less like oral language than most of the written language to which children have been exposed” (p. 187). (p. 5)

The National Reading Panel (2000) acknowledged that although we have a fairly well-devel- oped understanding of the various facets of vocabulary knowledge, little is known about the instructional contexts that support its growth, especially after fifth grade. As a result, there is currently limited understanding about the most produc- tive approaches for teaching words to students as they advance into middle school and beyond, and although recent studies have begun to address this gap (e.g., Kucan, 2007; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010), effective vocabulary instruction with older students continues to be understudied. (p. 5)

Our investigation, then, centered on the question, What are the instructional practices and classroom con- texts that improve the vocabulary knowledge of young adolescent and adolescent students? (p. 6)

Method (p. 6)

we searched Academic OneFile, Education Full Text, and ERIC databases for investigations (p. 6)

Using the key words vocabulary instruction and adoles- cent, our search of Academic OneFile yielded 33 results, Education Full Text yielded 288, and ERIC generated 23 results. (p. 6)

The terms classroom discourse and vocabulary yielded a total of 1,141 studies from these databases, but when we added adolescent or middle school as additional search terms, the results fell closer to 300. A search of the three databases using the key words and phrases teacher talk, vocabulary, and adolescent yielded 146 results. We next searched the same three databases on the terms vocabulary instruction and classroom discourse. This combination of terms yielded 63 studies. We also searched with a combination of vocabulary instruction and teacher talk, which resulted in 35 studies. (p. 6)

we accepted only studies from peer-reviewed journals. (p. 6)

we included both quantitative and qualitative research designs (p. 6)

We also elimi- nated studies with a focus on teaching English as a foreign language. (p. 6)

Finally, to contextualize the findings, we included meta-analyses and noted them as such in our review. (p. 6)

With these restrictions applied, 33 studies remained. Among the included stud- ies, 28 focused on vocabulary development and/or vocabulary instruction; of these, 21 were quantitative or mixed-methods designs, 4 were qualitative, and 3 were meta-analyses (Table 1). (p. 6)

Results (p. 16)

This review is qualitative rather than quantitative. (p. 16)

The review is organized within two major strands. The first is sources of word learning. These include (a) wide reading as a pathway to vocabulary knowledge; (b) instruction of word learning strategies, including context clues, morphological analysis, awareness of polysemy, and developing word consciousness; © direct instruction of individual words; and (d) direct instruction plus strategies. The sec- ond is the contexts teachers create to support these sources of word learning. (p. 16)

Sources of Word Learning (p. 16)

Wide Reading as a Pathway to Vocabulary Knowledge (p. 16)

In studies with students in Grades 4, 5, and 6 ( N = 134), Cunningham and Stanovich (1991) demonstrated that the quantity of students’ reading signifi- cantly contributed to growth in both vocabulary and overall knowledge. (p. 16)

However, for vocabulary to increase through reading, students must read fre- quently, in significant quantities, and with texts of sufficient complexity to be exposed to new and sophisticated language (Graves, 2006). (p. 16)

These col- lective findings suggest that many adolescents do not read in quantities sufficient to have significant impact on their vocabulary growth. (p. 16)

However, readers’ skill levels strongly influence their abilities to infer word meaning from context. (p. 19)

The conclusion that characteristics of the focal and adjacent words, and of the readers, themselves, may render the text-based context an inconsistent source for acquiring vocabulary is further supported by evidence from Swanborn and deGlopper’s (1999) meta-analysis of 20 incidental word learning studies. (p. 19)

The results indicated the probability of learning a particular word’s meaning based on a single encounter with it in context to be around 15%, with low-ability and younger readers demonstrating far greater difficulty inferring meaning than high- ability and older readers. (p. 19)

In sum, despite strong evidence that wide reading contributes to vocabulary development and growth, such outcomes are likely to be realized primarily by (p. 19)

students who engage in frequent reading of texts with complex and interesting vocabulary, who have strong English language proficiency, and who are capable readers. (p. 20)

In the subsequent sections, we explore studies of instruction and classroom practices that promote vocabulary growth. We have organized these studies in two groups: those that examine instruction of word learning strategies and those that examine direct instruction of target words. (p. 20)

Instruction of Word Learning Strategies (p. 20)

Studies of instruction targeted at word learning strategies suggest four essential practices: the use of context clues, morphological analysis, understanding the polysemous nature of words, and developing metacognitive awareness of word meanings. (p. 20)

Fukkink and DeGlopper (1998) conducted a meta-analysis of 12 studies focused on improving students’ skill in deriving word meaning from context while reading. (p. 20)

Approaches to instruction varied among five types: (a) teaching students to identify context clues, (b) using cloze tasks to increase students’ awareness of related language found in the text and surrounding novel words, c) teaching strategies to infer word meaning, (d) focusing on definitional approaches to develop a general schema of a word’s meaning, (e) and practice-only conditions in which students practiced exercises but without other instruction. (p. 20)

with a mean effect size of .43 for these treatment groups. (p. 20)

Combined findings from these studies indicate that explicit instruction in con- text clues helps readers of all ability levels in defining unfamiliar words (Baumann et al., 2002; Fukkink & DeGlopper, 1998; Goerss et al., 1999). However, students may experience similar success when taught to use other word learning strategies (e.g., morphological analysis) or when taught to pair the use of context clues with morphological analysis (Baumann et al., 2002). (p. 21)

Morphological analysis. Students’ ability to engage in morphological analysis becomes increasingly important as they advance in school and the morphologi- cal complexity of words in grade-level texts increases (Nippold & Sun, 2008). (p. 21)

Morphological awareness made “a signifi- cant unique contribution at all grade levels” (Nagy et al., 2006, p. 140) to reading comprehension, reading vocabulary, and spelling. (p. 21)

Looking across studies, morphological knowledge aided students in decipher- ing word meaning, spelling, and comprehension (Nagy et al., 2006), and skill in applying this knowledge increased as students progressed in school (Nippold & Sun, 2008). Morphological analysis provided a valuable tool to help students with and without disabilities unlock word meanings (Harris et al., 2011). When strate- gies for analysis were taught, students improved both knowledge of words and ability to infer meanings from new words (Baumann et al., 2003). As a whole, these studies also suggest that students can continue to benefit from a focus on morphology, context, and word analysis strategies as they advance in school. (p. 23)

Awareness of polysemy. Polysemous words are understood to be “those that have more than one related sense” (Crossley, Salsbury, & McNamara, 2010, p. 575), containing a core meaning, as well as several related senses. Awareness of words’ polysemous nature is a metalinguistic skill that improves students’ abil- ity to derive meaning in academic work. (p. 23)

In combination, studies reviewed thus far suggest three important understand- ings about words that contribute to discerning word meanings. Direct instruction in context clues is effective for raising students’ awareness of the meaning of unfamiliar words, both as an independent strategy and in combination with other strategies. In addition, morphological awareness makes an important contribution to students’ vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension; ability to use morphological analysis seems to develop as students progress in school (Ram et al., 2013; Wysocki & Jenkins, 1987) and, therefore, may be of particular benefit to students beginning in the late elementary and middle grades where texts typi- cally contain longer and more complex words and convey more abstract ideas (e.g., Nagy et al., 2006; Nippold & Sun, 2008). Furthermore, providing instruc- tion in polysemous words may improve word learning and text comprehension (Nelson & Stage, 2007). (p. 24)

Developing word consciousness. According to Stahl and Nagy (2006), word consciousness is a “multi-faceted construct” (p. 140) that incorporates students’ awareness of differences between oral and written language, understandings about the effect that a word’s role in a sentence may have on its meaning (syntactical awareness), knowledge of the effects of word parts on meaning (morphological awareness), and an appreciation of word choice. (p. 24)

As such, they were subject to the naturalistic classroom con- ditions and potentially variable instruction of the teachers who implemented the interventions (p. 25)

Direct Instruction of Individual Words (p. 25)

there is widespread agreement that direct instruc- tion of selected, key words improves vocabulary knowledge. Such instruction may be especially important in disciplinary learning (p. 25)

Stahl and Fairbanks (1986) provided convincing evidence that direct instruction of key words has immediate benefit and is tied to improved reading comprehension. (p. 25)

Although there is general support for teaching individual words, there are var- ied approaches to determining words that merit such focused attention. Among the most familiar is Beck et al.’s (2002) identification of Tier Two words, defined as words regularly used and understood by mature language users and whose knowledge supports comprehension and communicative ability across contexts and subject areas. In this approach, focal words are selected according to the cur- ricular and text content and needs of the students in the classroom. (p. 26)

Others have suggested different criteria for selecting words for focused instruc- tion. Biemiller (2003, p. 331) proposed teaching words that students “commonly encounter, rather than uncommon and complex words.” (p. 26)

Hiebert (2005) extended this focus on word roots and families to include words that students might know through association with known words, words possessing derivatives that students frequently encounter, and words with multiple meanings. The National Reading Panel (2000, pp. 4–5) (p. 26)

suggested choosing vocabulary words for instruction that are “derived from con- tent learning materials” and, therefore, conceptually related to the material being taught. Finally, recent attention has been placed on selecting words from the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) and providing instruction in those words common to disciplinary literacy and across academic texts (Nagy & Townsend, 2012). (p. 27)

Direct Instruction of Target Words Plus Strategies (p. 27)

Several recent studies have combined direct teaching of focal words with strat- egy instruction to increase students’ knowledge of target words and strengthen their abilities to independently determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. (p. 27)

Together, these studies demonstrate the effectiveness of multifaceted instruc- tion combining explicit teaching of target words with strategies to promote stu- dents’ independence in word recognition and analysis. (p. 27)

Summary of Sources of Word Learning (p. 28)

A robust body of research that stretches over three decades sheds light on the multiple ways that words are learned. The complex nature of word knowledge demands a comprehensive approach to vocabulary instruction that acknowledges and develops the various facets of knowledge that words represent. In addition to reading widely, positive learning outcomes result from teaching students to iden- tify and use context-based clues for determining the meanings of unfamiliar words in text (Fukkink & DeGlopper, 1998). In addition, morphological analysis (e.g., Baumann et al., 2002; Nippold & Sun, 2008) and attention to polysemy (Nelson & Stage, 2007) have proved useful for determining meanings of unfamiliar words. Combining strategies (e.g., morphological and contextual analysis) improves stu- dents’ vocabulary knowledge (e.g., Baumann et al., 2003). As well, strategic approaches that focus on students’ metacognition promote self-efficacy for moni- toring comprehension and applying word learning strategies in new contexts (Dole et al., 1995; Lubliner & Smetana, 2005). (p. 28)

Studies also affirm the value of direct instruction of target words (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986; Townsend & Collins, 2009). Rich instruction creates variety in the instructional activities and events where target words are situated, which, in turn, offers students repeated opportunities to hear and use words, authentically. Incorporating direct word instruction with strategic instruction strengthens stu- dents’ knowledge about words as well as of words (Carlo et al., 2004; Lesaux et al., 2010). Moreover, these comprehensive instructional approaches are likely to address the multifaceted nature of word knowledge with its related networks of conceptual and semantic associations (Beck et al., 2002). (p. 28)

Productive Contexts for Teaching and Learning Vocabulary (p. 28)

A related line of research in vocabulary instruction has focused on discussion as a productive context for vocabulary teaching and learning. A discourse-rich approach to instruction is rooted in the work of Vygotsky (1978), who held that language serves as the principal tool for sharing knowledge and creating common understandings. He emphasized the crucial role of language in the development of students’ thinking, or inner language, to enable critical thinking and analysis and argued that thinking is facilitated and enhanced through interactions with a more knowledgeable other within a social community (Resnick, Levine, & Teasley, 1991). (p. 28)

classroom discussion offers a language-rich context in which to explore words’ meanings and uses and to tie important vocabulary to texts and content. (p. 28)

Given what we have learned about the development of deep knowledge of word meanings and, in particular, the need for students to explore word meanings within a broad semantic context of the word, we reasoned that an effective discus- sion about vocabulary, by its very nature, must be situated within a meaningful context. (p. 29)

Discussion as a Context for Vocabulary Instruction (p. 29)

n a study set in three class- rooms, Stahl and Vancil (1986) examined semantic mapping with discussion as an instructional approach to increasing sixth-grade students’ (N = 45) knowledge of lesson-related vocabulary. (p. 29)

Students receiving instruction under the first and second conditions (classroom discussion alone or combined with a semantic map) per- formed better on several posttests of vocabulary learning, with no significant dif- ferences between the two groups, than did students who worked with semantic maps alone. (p. 29)

Stahl and Clark (1987) investigated students’ acquisition of science vocabulary in four classrooms of fifth graders (N = 69). (p. 29)

Treatment (p. 29)

students also demonstrated significantly higher concept learning than comparison students. Students were also compared across treatment groups, with significant differences in word learning found among them, as measured by the sentence anomaly test: both participation in discussion (i.e., Called-On) and anticipation of participation (i.e., Ignored) led to significantly higher levels of word learning when compared with students in the Listening condition. (p. 30)

Snow et al. (2009) studied effects of a 24-week program for middle school stu- dents focused on developing students’ academic vocabulary through discussions of high-interest topics. Five new focal words, taken from the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000), were introduced each week (p. 30)

target word learning of treatment group students sur - passed that of control group students with effect sizes ranging from .33 to .56. (p. 30)

Dixon-Krauss (2002) undertook a “mediation model design” (p. 310) for vocabulary instruction in two ninth-grade English classes (N = 43). (p. 30)

Students’ knowledge of target words was stronger after the second lesson series in which words were emphasized in context. The number of focal words students used in their writing decreased but their appropriate uses of vocabulary words increased. (p. 30)

Teacher-facilitated student dialogues provided the focus of a small, qualitative study by Harmon (2000) with sixth- and seventh-grade students (N = 6) enrolled in developmental reading classes. (p. 30)

Throughout these teacher-facilitated discussions, students used a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words or to connect the word to (p. 30)

the text. Working together, some students consulted the immediate textual context or made connections to personal experiences or the more general story line to grapple with possible word meanings. Other students relied more heavily on teacher prompts and guidance to try to explain the word’s meaning and to clarify its relationship to the story. (p. 31)

Harmon concluded that discussions supported students’ sharing of these various strategies and encouraged metacognitive approaches to word meaning, but with varying levels of skill. (p. 31)

Discussion thus offers both a context and a tool for examining the relationships of words to important ideas and holds potential for improving student learning. (p. 31)

The Teacher’s Role in Productive Discussions (p. 31)

Despite evidence of their effectiveness, discussions as contexts for word learn- ing are relatively uncommon in the classroom (Scott et al., 2003). (p. 31)

there is limited information to guide teachers in how to engage students or facilitate these conversations about vocabulary in productive ways. (p. 31)

a classroom environment rich in both teacher and student talk has consistently been linked to student achievement at many grade levels and for a diverse range of learners (e.g., Knapp, 1995; Langer, 2001). (p. 31)

others have noted that quality of the classroom talk trumps quantity; thus, it is not so much how much students talk as what they talk about that seems to drive the effectiveness of these discursive environments. (p. 31)

Discussions deemed most effective are those in which teachers orchestrate open explorations of content that engage students in critically reasoning and engaging with impor- tant ideas (Murphy et al., 2009). (p. 31)

Yet, despite these important understandings, there is substantial variability in the effectiveness with which teachers facilitate discussions (Adler, Rougle, Kaiser, & Caughlan, 20032004; Soter et al., 2008). (p. 32)

Teachers’ Orchestration of Discussion (p. 32)

Longer periods of student explanation, prompted through teachers’ ques- tions, resulted in more student reasoning and critical analysis of content. (p. 32)

Nystrand et al. (2003), in which they examined the relationship among the nature of classroom discourse (e.g., types of questions, presence of uptake, student responses), student variables (e.g., characteristics of students, class size, socioeconomic status), and student learning. (p. 32)

researchers found that dialogic discourse, that is, the “unprescripted exchange of ideas among students and the teacher” (Nystrand et al., 2003, p. 185), correlated with improved student learning. (p. 32)

Furthermore, dialogic episodes were characterized by teachers’ uptake of students’ ideas and “high-level evaluation” (Nystrand et al., 2003, p. 146) in which teachers incorporated students’ responses, either through elaboration or a follow-up question. (p. 32)

Wolf et al. (2005) examined the relationship between teacher talk and the rigor of classroom discussions. They rated rigor on the basis of instruction and discussion that required students to grapple with ideas (p. 32)

They found signifi- cant correlations between the nature of teachers’ questions and the level of cogni- tive challenge and engagement of student responses. (p. 33)

In a case study, Sharpe (2008) described the kinds of talk used by an experi- enced middle school teacher to scaffold students’ participation in historical inquiry (p. 33)

Transcript analysis indicated that the teacher used questioning and “low control” moves (Wood, 1992), like speculating and suggesting, that encouraged students to generate mul- tiple ideas about the topic and increased “prospectiveness” (i.e., exploratory talk that promoted hypotheses about events and people of that time period; Sharpe, 2008, p. 138). (p. 33)

Taken together, these studies present a picture of effective teachers’ talk as diverse, flexible, and consisting of an extensive repertoire and variety of talk (Sharpe, 2008; Soter et al., 2008) that supports constructive, content-related inter- actions with students throughout lessons. Effective teachers’ talk repertoires rep- resent a range of instructional elicitations and responses that build connections for students and help them integrate new information with what is already known (Nystrand et al., 2003; Wolf et al., 2005). (p. 33)

Summary of Productive Contexts for Teaching and Learning Vocabulary (p. 33)

The language-rich interactions that occur when students and the teacher productively discuss content and grapple with ideas have proven effective as tools that strengthen students’ learning (Nystrand et al., 2003; Soter et al., 2008). (p. 34)

In particular, discussion has proven effective as a context for vocabulary devel- opment. Discussion promotes students’ knowledge about words and conceptual understanding by creating a productive setting for exploring words and connect- ing vocabulary to important discipline-specific concepts (Harmon, 2000; Snow et al., 2009; Stahl & Clark, 1987; Stahl & Vancil, 1986). In addition, discussion promotes dialogic interactions through which students not only negotiate mean- ing but also authentically explore ideas related to important words; this new knowledge then serves as a cognitive resource for students to use in subsequent academic tasks (Dixon-Krauss, 2002; Stahl & Vancil, 1986). (p. 34)

Such discussions feature authentic, teacher–student dialogic exchanges (Nystrand et al., 2003); they emphasize higher-order thinking and reasoning about content; and they include the develop- ment of students’ strategic knowledge (e.g., Langer, 2001). (p. 34)

a range of instructional talk moves with which effective teachers provide scaffolding that engages students productively with content (Dixon-Krauss, 2002; Sharpe, 2008). A broader repertoire of teacher talk moves, including, for example, questioning, elaborating, or speculating, scaf- folds students’ participation and offers students models for engaging in academic inquiry (Sharpe, 2008). (p. 34)

Discussion (p. 34)

t is clear that vocabulary is a complex construct with connections to many aspects of language development and general knowledge growth. As such, the simplistic view of word learning through dictionary definitions that often predominates in classroom instruction (Blachowicz, Fisher, Ogle, & Watts-Taffe, 2006; Hedrick et al., 2004) is largely ineffective for increasing students’ understanding of words. Rather, deep word knowledge emerges over time through productive interactions with authentic texts, tasks, and talk (Beck et al., 2002; Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2008; Blachowicz & Fisher, 2000; Graves, 2006; Scott, 2005; Stahl & Nagy, 2006). (p. 34)

The second action teachers take relates to the ways they frame classroom dis- cussions to prompt productive explorations and provide the “rich oral language” necessary to build networks of semantic and associative information about words (McKeown et al., 1983; McKeown et al., 1985; Stahl & Vancil, 1987). Exploring words and their meanings through discussions of classroom texts and content anchors students’ developing vocabulary in meaningful contexts with authentic applications and opportunities to experience words in ways that support learning. (p. 35)

to address the multidimensionality of what it means to know a word (p. 35)

research suggests that discus- sions as contexts for word learning are relatively uncommon (Scott et al., 2003). (p. 35)

instead, they attribute productive discourse as resulting more from luck or timing than from a teacher’s knowledge and discursive skill (Adler et al., 20032004). It seems that, at this point, many teachers lack a deep under- standing of the teacher’ pivotal role in orchestrating productive classroom talk. (p. 35)

National Assessment of Educational Progress. (2013). 2013 Reading Assessment. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from sreportcard/reading/ (p. 39)

National Reading Panel. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching chil- dren to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. (p. 39)

Resnick, L. B., Levine, J. M., & Teasley, S. D. (Eds.). (1991). Perspectives on socially shared cognition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (p. 40)