Sarah Brown Wessling – Literacy Webinar

Organically Integrating Vocabulary into the Secondary Classroom

Tuesday, May 9, 2017   7-8pm EST


SupportingStudentCoreStandardsIf there’s been a vocabulary program out there, I’ve probably tried it. If there’s a vocabulary program I’ve tried, then I probably couldn’t make it work. After years of frustration and feeling like I kept taking students further away from words with lists and definitions and quizzes, I stopped. Then I decided to pay attention to how readers acquire language, how my students adopted it, and under what circumstances they were most likely to make new words a part of their lexicon. And we started to walk toward words instead of away from them. This webinar is focused on classroom practices that keep language and vocabulary essential to the classroom, but embed the instruction within an integrated approach to literacy.

Recommended Reading: Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards: 9-12 by Sarah Brown Wessling

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 4.54.30 PMSarah Brown Wessling is a 17-year veteran of the high school English classroom. While a member of the faculty at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa she has taught courses ranging from at-risk to Advanced Placement and has served the department and district in a variety of leadership roles. Sarah is a National Board Certified Teacher since 2005 and in 2010 was selected as the National Teacher of the Year. In that capacity she worked as an ambassador for education, giving over 250 talks and workshops in 39 different states as well as internationally. Currently she maintains a hybrid teaching position which keeps her in the classroom and allows her to write, speak and work on teacher leadership initiatives around the country. Sarah is Laureate Emeritus for the non-profit Teaching Channel. She is an author of Supporting Students in a Time of Core Standards and has launched her own blog, Open Teaching, at



Dr. Dianna Townsend – Literacy Webinar

Who is Using the Vocabulary?: Engaging Students in Active Practice with New and Important Words

Thursday, April 20, 2017   7-8pm EST


51yHuBUVLjL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_When students, or any of us, learn new words, they need opportunities to practice with and personalize those words. This is especially true if those words are essential to something they are reading or if they need to use them in their own writing. This interactive webinar will share approaches and strategies that encourage students’ active practice with important words to support reading comprehension and writing. Additionally, this webinar will share instructional and environmental resources that teachers can easily integrate into their classrooms to support all students, and especially those who are struggling with vocabulary learning, reading, and writing. Finally, this webinar will include suggestions for identifying whether or not a vocabulary strategy is a good fit for a specific learning objective, as well as some vocabulary assessment tools that can be adapted to any word list or lesson.

Recommended Reading: Vocabulary Their Way: Word Study with Middle and Secondary Students, 2nd Edition by Shane Templeton, Donald R. Bear, Marcia A. Invernizzi, Fancine R. Johnson, Kevin Flanigan, Dianna R. Townsend, Lori Helman and Latisha Hayes.

Dr. Dianna Townsend is an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate literacy courses and serves as the Graduate Program Director for the Master’s Degree in Literacy Studies. Dr. Townsend is a co-author of Vocabulary Their Way: Word Study with Middle and Secondary Students, and her research has been published in, among other journals, Reading Research Quarterly, The Elementary School Journal, and Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Dr. Townsend facilitates regular professional development workshops on vocabulary instruction, reading in the disciplines, and academic language. Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Townsend taught high school English and psychology in Massachusetts.

Dr. Margaret McKeown – Literacy Webinar

Cracking the Vocabulary Nut Requires Rich, Interactive Instruction

Tuesday, March 28, 2017  7-8pm EST


BWTL 2nd EdEffective vocabulary instruction calls for providing students with a variety of encounters with words and interactive experiences in which students think about and use the words. The research base for effective vocabulary learning will be presented along with ample examples of interactions and ideas for the classroom. Discussion of how to select words for instruction will also be included.

Recommended Reading:

    • Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction, 2nd Edition by Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan
  • Creating Robust Vocabulary: Frequently Asked Questions & Extended Examples by Isabel L. Beck, Margaret G. McKeown, and Linda Kucan

Margaret G. McKeown is a Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center and Clinical Professor in the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. McKeown’s work covers the areas of learning, instruction, and teacher professional development in vocabulary and reading comprehension. She is the co-developer, with Isabel Beck, of robust vocabulary instruction, and Questioning the Author, a discussion approach to comprehension instruction. Before her career in research, she taught reading and language arts in elementary school.

Word Study

Executive Summary:
Helping Students Own Language Through
Word Study, Vocabulary, and Grammar Instruction


White Paper:
Helping Students Own Language Through
Word Study, Vocabulary, and Grammar Instruction


Members of the Word Study Work Group

Members of the Word Study Work Group

Welcome to the word study resource page! We hope you find these materials helpful. If you have word study materials that are teacher tested and approved that you would like to share, please email one of the consultants (email addresses to the right).

-Delia DeCourcy, Michele Farah, Diane Katakowski, Susan Koceski

Recommended Resources

District-provided Resources
Doug Fisher Resources
Mini Book Talk Books
Other Online Resources