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Keywords:

  • topic;
  • struggling;
  • gap;
  • strategies;
  • instructional;
  • vocabulary;
  • content literacy;
  • learner;
  • early childhood;
  • type;
  • article

A significant body of research suggests that wide differences in concept and vocabulary knowledge exacerbate the achievement gap among students, especially in schools with large numbers of children of poverty. Educators sometimes attribute this difference to the Matthew effect: the sad reality that having a well-developed vocabulary allows a student to learn new words more easily than classmates who have a smaller fund of word knowledge. These concerns led a reading specialist and a group of teachers in a multiethnic urban school to develop Vocabulary Visits—virtual field trips using books to develop the content vocabulary of their first-grade students. Vocabulary Visits use a scaffolded read-aloud with student engagement and semantic activities to develop content area vocabulary. The article contains examples of each step, and the authors present evaluation information as well as ideas for differentiation and extension.