Answer To A Frequently Asked Question
Of all the questions I receive, one of the most frequently is: How is it possible for one volume to serve students in grades 5-10? The best chances I get to explain this are at an education convention when teachers visit our booth. With a large-size web of words in front of me and a pointer in my hand, I am able to demonstrate how a group of related words stretching over many levels of learning are feasible for a wide-range of grades.
First, I show them the color- and shape-coded symbols that are at the bottom of every web page, starting with the one that’s intended for all students. I then proceed to those for beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced and challenge. Put another way, each web has words that show a relationship to the center word — a root, prefix or suffix — which I have rated as to their level of difficulty. Obviously, this is a bit subjective, yet it comes from my experiences as a classroom teacher.
When I was assigned a supposedly eighth- or ninth-grade homogeneous class, one where students were supposed to be at the same level of learning, there were always a range of abilities. Sometimes these differences resulted from individual students’ level of interest or prior experience, since learning often depends on these elements.
When classes are taught to students strictly by subject, as in math or English, which, depending on the school, may be ninth or tenth grade, this most likely changes. The teacher of a 10th-grade honors English class might well expect all students to be at the advanced or challenged level, although I fear that this is not always the case. I have had feedback from many teachers of older students whose vocabulary was not up to snuff for their grade levels. My statements,however, are based on a classroom where several subjects are taught to everyone.
Teachers of younger students may find that the total vocabulary work is too difficult for some in their class. However, since each lesson also contains two more words not related to the web, I suggest to teachers that they use the Real World Words® and the Wicked Word of the Week® for those students who may not be ready to handle more than those each week. However, I also insist through my instructions in each teacher’s manual that regardless of the class’s make-up, he/she should cover all the words and the Think Links orally during the week. That way, students who are not being held responsible for all the web words will hear them and be able to see the connection between the webbed words. Despite being told that they are not going to be held responsible for these, they hear them — and they learn.
Now, back to when I’m standing face to face with an interested teacher. My explanations and pointing seem to make clear how these ranges of words can indeed work with many types of individuals in one classroom or with different grades.
As most experienced teachers know, reading materials for students in the same classroom have varied greatly. Teachers have not had a problem adapting to this need. Word Web Vocabulary provides this same recognition of diverse students' abilities, as well as a method of adjusting to them. And, that’s how teachers using Word Web derive benefits for their students across grades 5-10.
If you have further questions about this important issue please contact me email@example.com. I would love to talk to you, and if you do make contact I’ll even explain what I mean when I say students using Word Web Vocabulary become immersed not just exposed to word study.
That’s my word for now.