Brain Efficient Word Lists for Word Sorts, Puzzles, and More

"More than two thirds of eighth and twelfth graders read at less than a proficient level, and half of those are so far behind that they drop off the scale entirely, scoring below what the US Department of Education defines as its most basic level." In a typical high-poverty urban school half of incoming ninth graders read at a sixth or seventh grade level or below.

Reading instruction generally is not available to middle and high school students.  When it is available it typically does not address the vocabulary and concepts contained in content area classes such as history, science, and English.  For most students the content area teacher is the only hope of literacy improvement to access success in content area classes.  Yet most content area teachers have not been trained as reading teachers, and they must cover ambitious mandated curriculum standards.  Content area teachers are left to find ways to adapt to the ever widening range of reading and vocabulary levels within their classes.

Rejecting the common assumption that by middle school and high school it is too late to help struggling readers, “United States History Brain Efficient Word Lists for Word Sorts, Puzzles, and More” author Matthew J. Glavach, Ph.D., offers a literacy approach based on current reading brain research.  The approach, which he calls parallel reading intervention, organizes important content area vocabulary words into logical brain efficient word lists that make learning the words much easier.  Students improve spelling, word attack, and vocabulary skills while improving their ability to succeed in the content area classes such as history. The focus of this issue of NASET’s Practical Teacher will be to describe the approach, and includes extensive brain efficient word lists for United States history.

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