Word Wise and Content Rich

  • Title:Word Wise and Content Rich, Grades 7-12: Five Essential Steps to Teaching Academic Vocabulary
  • Author:Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey
  • Publication Date:May 2008
  • Grade Level:7-12
  • ISBN:9780325013824
  • Publisher:Heinemann

How do you teach students the words that are crucial to unlocking the concepts in your content area? Until now “assign, define, test” has been the default strategy. But with Word Wise and Content Rich, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey bring vocabulary in out of the cold and into the heart of daily classroom practice in English, math, science, and history.

Word Wise and Content Rich offers a five-part framework for teaching vocabulary that’s tailored to the needs of adolescent learners yet mindful of the demands on content-area teachers. Grounded in current research, this framework gives students the multiple encounters necessary to lock in the meaning of new words forever. Fisher and Frey’s five-step modelshows you how to:

  • Make it intentional: select words for instruction and use word lists and up-to-date website lists wisely
  • Make it transparent: model word-solving and word-learning strategies for students
  • Make it useable: offer learners the collaborative work and oral practice essential to understanding concepts
  • Make it personal: give and monitor independent practice so students own words
  • Make it a priority: create a schoolwide program for word learning.

Use Word Wise and Content Rich, and close the word gap between low-achieving and high-achieving students. With its strategies, every student in your class—in your school—can access the textbook and develop the vocabulary needed for success in content-area reading.

Read Word Wise and Content Rich and get the last word on great vocabulary teaching.

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Author Bio

Douglas Fisher is professor of language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a classroom teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, the Farmer Award for excellence in writing from the National Council of Teachers of English, as well as a Christa McAuliffe Award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design, as well as books, such as Creating Literacy-rich Schools for Adolescents (with Gay Ivey), Checking for Understanding (with Nancy Frey), Better Learning Through Structured Teaching (with Nancy Frey) and Content-area Conversations (with Carol Rothenberg), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Nancy Frey) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Nancy Frey, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. She is a recipient of the Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She has co-authored several books on literacy such as Teaching Visual Literacy and Checking for Understanding (with Douglas Fisher), Text Complexity (2/e) (with Doug Fisher) and Text-Dependent Questions, Grades 6-12 and Grades K-5 (with Dou Fisher, Heather Anderson, Marisol Thayre).


She was a co-recipient (with Doug Fisher) of NCTE’s 2004 Kate and Paul Farmer award for outstanding writing for their article, “Using Graphic Novels, Anime, and The Internet In an Urban High School,” published in The English Journal. She teaches a variety of courses in elementary and secondary literacy in content area instruction and supporting students with diverse learning needs.

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