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. Laura Tortorelli – Literacy Webinar

Words in the World: Transferring Word Study to Everyday Reading and Writing

Thursday, November 17, 2016  7-8pm EST


Word study is one of the most effective ways to teach children to read and spell words. All too often, however, teachers spend hours assessing children, designing sorts, cutting up words, and sorting them, only to find that children continue to misread and/or misspell these words or similar words in their other language arts work. This webinar is designed to help you and your students get more out of your classroom word work. We will review the step-by-step process of designing effective, individualized word study with an emphasis on this final step, embedding word study in meaningful classroom reading and writing activities. We will explore classroom activities to help children “make the jump” from word study lessons to real texts and writing assignments, including dictated writing, word hunts, word study reader’s theatre, and more. We will discuss strategies to help children extend their word study knowledge by approaching new words through analogy and morphological (spelling-meaning) connections. We will also discuss the most effective way to teach high frequency words in the context of word study. Finally we will discuss effectively pairing texts with word study lessons, and the right times to use decodable books, leveled books, children’s literature, and even basal readers in word study.

Tortorelli-LauraLaura Tortorelli received her Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia in 2015 and is currently an assistant professor in the Teacher Education department at Michigan State University.  Her research examines the context in which children develop into proficient readers and writers in the early elementary grades, with a focus on how word recognition and writing skills develop from Prekindergarten to 3rd grade. She draws on developmental perspectives (Chall, 1986; Ehri, 2005; Sharp, Sinatra, & Reynolds, 2008) and the RAND model (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002) of reading comprehension to highlight how reader, text, and task factors interact in an iterative process that shapes reading development over time. She has recently been named the 2016-2017 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher by Harvard School of Education and an Emerging Scholars Fellow by the Hall of Reading Fame. Her current projects analyze writing in Prekindergarten, alphabet knowledge in kindergarten, and interactions between reading fluency and text complexity in second grade. In addition, Dr. Tortorelli is beginning a year-long collaboration with teachers in the Flint Community Schools to support their early literacy instruction.

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