Think of the connections between a home, an office, and various other places

as a spider web (minus the stickiness and spider, of course). If you need to

travel from one side of a spider web to another, the routes are nearly endless.

So what does that analogy have to do with this book? You guessed it.

Considering multiple paths between your home and office is similar to how we

should consider accessing vocabulary words. Do we or our students know the

words well enough to access them in multiple ways? If one path is blocked,

can we or our students access a word via another path? That’s the goal!

Word memory should be triggered by our senses, experiences, motions,

associations, and so much more. The more pathways that exist, the easier

and faster we can all retrieve words.

Vocabulary can be categorized as conversational or academic. Our everyday

language is considered conversational and at times, informal. Academic

vocabulary is more formal and is used to speak about the content we’re

learning. Both types of vocabulary are useful in many contexts. Building

academic vocabulary is a vertical responsibility and challenge, and as

educators, it’s up to us to teach and help students master it. Instead of

reteaching the same words every year, students should review the words

they’ve previously been taught while focusing on widening their vocabulary

banks with new words in every grade level. Also critical is realizing that

science teachers of all levels are reading teachers because students must

be able to read, write, and infer meaning to be successful in science. We

can reinforce and provide students with opportunities to communicate

through speaking, reading, writing, and listening in science. Imagine what an

invaluable, irreplaceable, life-long gift that would be for both the students and

the teachers who follow. The larger students’ vocabularies grow, the more

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