The Literacy Coach is expected to be the point person for literacy resources in their school. Some teachers can not believe how much “stuff” I have and they don’t realise how much of it is essential to my job. When a teacher has a question or is looking for an activity I can usually turn to my shelves and pull something out to help them. If I can’t it doesn’t take me long to find something. It is a good thing that I like to read. The burden of being the designated expert on resources is the need to read… constantly. I won’t go into the length and breadth of the different texts that I am expected to know about (not today). I will say that with all this reading, it is nice to find something that reinforces your philosophy and teaching practice. Recently, that is exactly what I found.
Vocabulary Strategies That Work by Lori Wilfong is an excellent reference for Literacy Coaches and teachers of all subject areas. I know why using a word wall is important, but I probably couldn’t put it so succinctly as Wilfong does in this book. She has a simple approach to explain to teachers the best way to teach vocabulary and she uses real world examples to back it up. Wilfong explains the actions and pedagogy of vocabulary instruction using a “do this…not that” structure. Her publisher Eye on Education, took the liberty of producing an infographic of the Do’s and Do Not’s of Effective Vocabulary Instruction. While the infographic gives you the main principles, the book gives you so much more.
I purchased the e-book version yesterday and I’m almost finished reading it. While I might have a slightly more motivated perspective (I have to present PD next week on this very topic) my speed is more likely related to the readability of the text. In 7 chapters I have been reminded of sound education/pedagogy theories and appropriate vocabulary activities. I can link my learning from this text to pedagogical frameworks used at my school such as Dimensions of Learning. I have also found new activities, graphic organisers, templates, planning processes and action statements for my future instruction. I am armed with specific information and activities for my own teaching and I am ready to support (as the Literacy Coach) any teacher who may need it.
The straightforward layout and language make this a text I will return to again and again. I am also loving the e-book format as I can highlight and add notes to the side very easily (all from my ultrabook, without printing a thing). I also like the idea that I can print one page (or selected pages) to share with my colleagues without having to visit the photocopy room. Purchasing the book Vocabulary Strategies That Work, was a great investment for me and I will be encouraging our school to purchase a few more copies for our teacher reference section of the library. This is a great resource.
I better get back to work!
The Literacy Coach