The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 2 - Page 31



A Vocabulary Strategy: K.I.M.\

Timothy Rasinskil



For more see: Rasinski, T.:

Daily Word Ladders, K-1, 1-2, 2-4. 4-6. Scholastic.

Vocabulary Ladders, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Teacher Created Materials/Shell Education

Angela Danley and Alisha O’Rear

Angela Danley and Alisha O’Rear

Timothy Rasinskil

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” James Gates PercivalSPECIAL SECTION- DIFFERENTIATION


Key Ideas, Information, Memory Cue

Timothy Rasinskil


Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2003). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read: Kindergarten through grade 3. Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy.

Baker, S., Simmons, D., & Kame’enui, E. (1995). Vocabulary instruction: Synthesis of the research (Technical Report No. 13). Eugene, OR: National Center to Improve the Tools of Education.

Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnson, F. (2015). Words their way: Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2013). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Biemiller, A. (2004). Teaching vocabulary in the primary grades: Vocabulary instruction needed. In J. Baumann & E. Kame’enui (Eds.), Vocabulary instruction: Research to practice (pp. 28-40). New York: The Guilford Press.

Gleason, J. B., & Ratner, N. B. (2017). The development of language (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge for academic achievement: Research on what works in schools. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Montgomery, J. K. (2006). Explicit vocabulary intervention for language and reading. Paper presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, Miami, FL.

Nagy, W. E. (2005). Why instruction needs to be long-term and comprehensive. In E. H. Hieber & M. L. Kamil (eds.), Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice (pp. 27-44). Chicago, IL: Routledge.

National Early Literacy Panel. (2009). Developing early literacy: Report of the national early literacy panel. Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy.

Nelson, J. R., & Stage, S. A. (2007). Fostering the development of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension through contextually-based multiple meaning vocabulary instruction. Education and Treatment of Children, 30(1), 1-22.

Overturf, B.J., Montgomery, L., & Smith, M.H. (2013). Word nerds: Teaching all students to learn and love vocabulary. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Pikulski, J. J., & Templeton, S. (2004). Teaching and developing vocabulary: Key to long-term reading success. Houghton Mifflin Company.

Stahl, S. (2005). Four problems with teaching word meanings (and what to do to make vocabulary an integral part of instruction). In E. H. Hiebert and M. L. Kamil (Eds.), Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice (pp. 95–114). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Retrieved from PsycINFO database.

Stahl, S. A., & Kapinus, B. (2001). Word power: What every educator needs to know about teaching vocabulary. Washington, D.C.: National Education Association.

Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21(4), 360-407. doi: 10.1598/RRQ.21.4.1

Zimmerman, B. J., & Pons, M. M. (1986). Development of a structured interview for assessing student use of self-regulated learning strategies. American Educational Research Journal, 23(4), 614-628.

Mitzi Brammer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an assistant professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Saint Louis University. She is dually certified as a speech-language pathologist and special reading teacher. Dr. Brammer spent 28 years in K-12 special education before moving to teaching in higher education.


Classrooms where the power of learning is shared looks very different from those teacher-centered spaces. It takes a confident teacher to admit when they do not know something and share in the research over a subject.

Encouraging risk-taking is another attribute observed in more creative spaces. Those teachers who are able to provide a safe space for students to take reasonable risks in their learning find the student more eager to try something new (Bianco, 2018). These same students are more confident in sharing in class discussion, working with peers, and risking being wrong. Teachers who strive for risk-taking frame learning as a part of the community structure where students are able to discuss with peers before sharing out and have opportunities to reflect on their answer and revise according to additional insight. Other strategies to support students are to provide opportunities for phoning a friend across the room to elaborate on their spoken response, allowing students to pass when unsure or not yet prepared to share, or relying on a group huddle before sharing out to the full class.

So often a teacher believes he/she is providing opportunities for students to be creative when in actuality, they do not understand the process of being creative. Being creative is not the act of providing pre-created activities or free play in the classroom, although there is a place for free play in learning. The act of being creative is through open-ended materials and engaging questioning to support ongoing learning. It is the understanding of what creative activities look like where teachers are able to provide more meaning to learning. Creativity does not have to be expensive through purchased materials or lesson plans. Teachers who truly understand creativity know that students need hands-on learning, open-ended materials with more than one way to use them, and the time to experience through their own trial and error.

Creative classrooms reflect positive energy that starts with the teacher. How the teacher responds to students is reflected in the learning environment. If the teacher is eager to encourage students through positive statements and reflective discussion, students are more eager to do well. Teachers in creative classrooms embrace the ability to encourage judiciously by focusing on the process rather than the product. Teachers focusing on positive interactions do not judge students on their ability to know an answer or think outside the box, instead they support and encourage through words, actions, and working through a problem together. These teachers comment on the focus of the student and how they are using the materials or their prior knowledge to work through a problem. In these classrooms teachers celebrate successes and empower students by learning through mistakes (Young, 2014). These teachers do not praise students, but encourage them in their work, instilling self-confidence rather than seeking

approval from others (Dweck, 2020). It is in these classrooms that students are self-driven rather than product focused

The value placed on student work enhances creativity and work ethic in the classroom. Those students who see value in their learning are more eager to try harder. This can be accomplished through transcribing and respecting the students’ work. The teacher who places value on the students’ work is the teacher who transcribes their thoughts and ideas capturing the thinking that went into the product (Katz & Chard, 1996). Transcription is a powerful tool for students. When the teacher takes the time to capture the students’ words, the student takes notice. They see their worth in the teacher’s actions. See image 1

Image 1: “This is my ladybug with lots of

legs” by Ethan, age 4

The teacher who understands and values creativity is active in the learning process. These classrooms have teachers on the children’s level, making eye contact and having deliberate conversations to further thinking. This teacher provides opportunities for active engagement by including students in the planning process by inviting students to share where they want the learning to go. Including students in planning for learning requires confidence.


The classroom teacher is the decisive element in a child’s day that determines how they learn and how they view learning in the future.