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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

10.12.18 Examples of Active Vocabulary Practice from our New Curriculum

  We’re writing a reading curriculum (hooray!) and that means daily review of lesson plans for me, which is great fun and lots of learning. Thought I’d share some examples of how we do it from some recent lessons. Our vocabulary goal is to use lots of active practice to build word knowledge. Start with a…


04.25.17 Why Reading Aloud to Students is So Critical to Vocabulary

Last night, after reading aloud to my daughter and tucking her in, I was mopping up a bit of work from the day and came across a reminder of this observation by Isabel Beck: “The source of later vocabulary learning shifts [as students get older] to written texts–what children read [as opposed to what they hear]. …


01.06.17 Building Academic Vocabulary: A Postcard from Jo Facer’s Classroom

A few weeks ago we shot video at the Michaela School in London- truly a thought-provoking and inspirational place. I’ve just started in watching the footage, beginning with Jo Facer’s English class, and have already found a dozen moments I’m going to cut video of. But for now I just want to share a photo of…


09.23.16 A Few Minutes with Literacy Expert Tim Shanahan

Tim Shanahan is one of the country’s foremost experts on literacy. He’s a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he founded and directed its Center for Literacy. Though he understands the research on reading as well as anyone in the field, he’s also done plenty of real-world work, having been principal…


06.09.15 Active Practice: The Key to Vocabulary

We’ve just finished our chapter on vocabulary in Reading Reconsidered.  In it, we describe ways to  teach new words directly (Explicit Vocabulary Instruction) and ways to increase how much word knowledge students absorb from reading words in texts (Implicit Vocabulary Instruction).  The following is from our discussion of Explicit Vocabulary Instruction and talks about the key…