Practice Eight – Introduction

Practice #8

Enriched vocabulary is evident and is drawn directly from challenging writings, informational text, and/or wisdom literature.

Contents include
Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections:

Implementation Basics
Ideas for Implementation
Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting
Life Principle
Hand Signs
Practice Connections
Practice Characteristics
Evidence of Practice
Music & Video Links
Learning Strategies
Mind Map
Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples

Introduction to Practice #8

Enriched vocabulary is evident and is drawn directly from challenging writings, informational text, and/or wisdom literature.

The WHY? of Practice #8!

Implementation supports a Culture of Respect and Academic Excellence :

  • The National Reading Panel 2000 report states that “quality literature helps students to build a sense of story and to develop vocabulary and comprehension.” Tutoring activities that focus on comprehension as their ultimate goal lead to increased student interest and motivation. Reading and writing have a reciprocal relationship - one is used to learn and enrich the other and vice versa. As a writer, the reader has a more intimate knowledge of the writing process, allowing a greater connection to another’s text. National Reading Panel
  • Researcher Donna Alvermann, an expert in adolescent literacy, studies learners’ self-efficacy and engagement. She urges all educators, despite their content area expertise, to encourage learners to read and write in many ways. She does so because she believes that writing raises the “cognitive bar,” challenging learners to problem solve and to think critically. Alvermann, D. (2002). “Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents, “Journal of Literacy Research, 34(2), 189-208 Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents 
  • Learner recitation of poetry can lend itself to providing training in a number of valuable oral communication skills: poise, posture, eye contact, and proper punctuation. Additionally, the learner has the opportunity to come to understand his poem fully. He can learn to be attentive to the messages, meanings, allusions, irony, tones of voice, and other nuances in his poem. National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, Poet0ry Out Loud @ Poetry Out Loud
  • Memorized information that is integrated with meaning builds confidence and self-esteem because it helps learners know what they know for sure and provides a database for new connections. Garner, B. K. (2007)
  • Writing fosters community in the classroom and because writing is a social act, it is a vehicle for learners to learn more about themselves and others. Using Writing to Deepen Learning in Mathematics by Vicki Urquhart,
  • Being able to address others by name and speak in complete sentences provides a foundation for good communication skills. Barrett, Julie, “Communicating in Style.” Practice Two -Educators and learners speak in complete sentences and address one another by name, demonstrating mutual respect and common courtesy.


For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices Practice #8 – pages 18-19 on Great Expectations website.



The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Daily use of the elements of Practice #8 will:

  • Enhance ability to express thoughts/ideas through the use of more specific meaningful vocabulary
  • Build confidence and self-esteem through improved verbal and written communication skills.

A vocabulary of truth and simplicity will be of service throughout your life.”

-- Winston Churchill

(Printable Poster)

Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?


  • To boost learner’s confidence and competence through the fluent use of a large erudite vocabulary.
  • To use words as a framework for learning and for producing work that reflects high-level thinking.
  • To enrich learner’s vocabulary and stimulate their imagination through interaction with character-building literature.
  • To help students internalize the characteristics of effective communication.
  • Build confidence and self-esteem through the the use of rich vocabulary in their writing and other communication opportunities.
  • To address the uniqueness and multiple styles of all learners by encouraging them to make educational decision and to give input into their individual vocabulary development.
  • To create a threat-free environment that encourages individuals to ask questions and share ideas.
  • To involve learners in real-life learning that reflects their investment and their successes.


Application to Employment Skills:

  • “Work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think - to reason, analyze, weight evidence, and problem-solve… “ Wagner, T. (2008), The Global Achievement Gap, New York: Basic Books, xxii-iii.
  • Practice #8 supports the Personal Values, Relations with Others, and Communication Skills listed under The 8 Keys to Employability:
Key #2: Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills

  • Flexible
  • Creative & Innovative
  • Adapt to change
  • Plan & organize work
  • Reason & make objective decisions
Key #4: Communication Skills Valued Workers:

  • Ask questions and listen well
  • Express themselves clearly
  • Seek help when needed
  • Communicate with supervisor and coworkers
Key # 5: Task-related skills

  • Complete work on time
  • Follow oral, written and visual instructions
  • Not distracting or distractible
  • Work neatly
  • Stick with a task & keep busy

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research

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