Links We Like: Examiner Vol. 9, Issue 1

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Volume 9, Issue 1
February 2020

The links included in this issue cover a variety of intriguing and relevant topics:

  1. Accurate spelling patterns, stored in the brain and connected to correct pronunciation and meaning, are the key component to word reading success and fluency—freeing up cognitive resources for higher level processes including comprehension. 
  2. A variety of intellectually stimulating strategies can be used for development of academic vocabulary (i.e., big words for the big world) within the classroom.
  3. The National Council on Teacher Quality has dubbed the science of teaching reading as their 2019 NCTQ topic of the year—partly due to its elevation as a crucially important issue through excellent nationwide


Emerging Research Reveals the Role Brain Words Play in Reading Success

By Gene P. Ouellette, Ph.D., and J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D.

As results of cognitive, educational, and neuroscience research have expanded our understanding of the reading brain, a myriad of “products” has appeared on the scene to assist with the teaching of reading. The problem is that “the scientific/research and the educational/teaching worlds have remained stubbornly separate and disconnected from one another.” It is imperative that these two worlds begin to work together. This article presents three vital lessons from the science of reading:

LESSON 1. A word’s orthography (spelling), linked to sound and meaning, is what we call a “brain word”— 

a spelling pattern stored in the brain and scaffolded onto or connected to oral language vocabulary.

LESSON 2. Learning to read is a developmental process ignited by English spelling.

LESSON 3. Decoding and sight word (“brain word”) reading are interconnected processes. Through decoding, and linking letters and sounds to meaning, “brain words” are established.


How To Develop Vocabulary in the Classroom

By Alex Quigley 12/03/2019

“Education is the process of preparing us for the big world, and the big world has big words” (David Crystal, 2007). The academic language we use (and hear) in school is different from the words we use in our conversations with friends and family—a contrast especially noticeable when reading informational texts because of the number of unfamiliar words students encounter—far more than in a typical conversation. Many academic words in the English language are “polysemous”—which means they have multiple meanings that need to be taught. A useful approach to creating “word consciousness” is explicit teaching of morphology and etymology (word histories). “Human beings are pattern-making machines, and with language we are no different.” Morphological awareness is a reliable path toward improved reading comprehension.  


 “Best of 2019”Teacher Quality Bulletin—December 2019—National Council on Teacher Quality

In the “Best of 2019” issue of its Teacher Quality Bulletin, the National Council on Teacher Quality   dubbed the science of teaching reading as NCTQ topic of the year. Not only was this crucially important issue elevated through excellent nationwide journalism, but editorial pieces written by Kate Walsh that discussed the clear scientific evidence on how best to teach reading and how failure to properly train teachers in this science is central to perpetuating injustice and inequity were by far the most-read NCTQ articles this year. NCTQ will be further contributing to this effort in the new year by releasing new analysis on whether teacher preparation programs are adhering to the science and providing recommendations for how the field can improve.


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