The color purple. What does it mean? Combined with red, it can mean adventure, excitement, and energy. Adding blue evokes richness and depth. It’s not surprising then, that purple is also the color selected for The Bridge of Vocabulary: Evidence-Based Activities for Academic Success.
This new tool for vocabulary intervention is the only program tied to evidence-based research and curriculum standards. It is also the first resource of its kind for both general and special educators.
Author Judy K. Montgomery, PhD, says, “It not only bridges vocabulary needs, it also bridges people. For instance, SLPs can be linked with their education partners or special educators can collaborate with those in regular education.”
“It not only bridges vocabulary needs, it also bridges people.” —Dr. Judy Montgomery
As an example, The Bridge of Vocabulary allows general education professionals to focus on grade-level English Language Arts standards, while special educators can find evidence-based practices for Individual Education Program (IEP) goals.
Focused and flexible, The Bridge of Vocabulary also enables users to meet guidelines set by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), which require that teachers and specialists use evidence-based teaching practices to ensure high-quality education and intervention. Additionally, the program is ideally suited for all three tiers of the Response to Intervention (RTI) model.
This exceptional tool can help all students succeed—including ELL students and individuals with language and learning disabilities, as well as typical elementary and secondary students.
The Bridge of Vocabulary is comprised of a book and accompanying CD. The book includes about 100 activities across five age ranges (preschool, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school/junior high, and high school/adult). The CD offers these activities and many more for each age range, including guided practice, independent practice, word cards, and pictures cards.
“This means SLPs and educators now have one resource to use from grade school to high school,” Dr. Montgomery notes. “There’s no other program like this. Usually you have to search for materials, category by category.
“As an author, I’m a believer that busy SLPs and teachers don’t have time to produce materials. They need something that’s put together for them. But they also need the latitude to customize or personalize the activity. With Bridge, everything is there—each activity has a beginning, middle, and end plus measurable objectives. However, professionals can also add what they want to fit the requirements of a particular situation.”
“As an author, I’m a believer that busy SLPs and teachers don’t have time to produce materials.” —Dr. Judy K. Montgomery
Dr. Montgomery says that to ensure maximum effectiveness, “we asked ourselves, ‘what is it that evidence-based practice tells us we should do as good educators?’ and ‘what is the standard that comes from general education that tells us what content area a child should be acquiring by a certain point in time?’ We also listened to reading, language, and cognitive experts and looked at content from four angles: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Once constructed, all activities were field tested by classroom teachers and speech-language pathologists.”
The result? A well-researched, comprehensive program that serves the needs of diverse educators and students.
Every book activity contains step-by-step directions; an objective statement; an evidence base statement that specifies how the activity links to research; recommended group size; materials needed; any related activities on the CD; standards that link instruction to specific curriculum standards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia; and at-a-glance icons that indicate time required.
Dr. Montgomery explains, “The program is designed in short activities that run five, ten, or fifteen minutes, marked with bars that indicate length. If the user decides he or she has just a few minutes to devote to an activity, something with one bar can be selected; with a little more time, an activity with three bars can be used. Not only does this give the professional flexibility, it also mirrors how children learn—we know they acquire knowledge and skills in short segments. As an example, if we overload a child with 50 questions or present a long chapter, it’s harder for the child to comprehend. But if we present five items, there’s a higher chance the child can get them right. That is much more satisfying experience.”
The user-friendly format of the book allows users to quickly locate age-appropriate activities and to readily find similar activities by topic at a higher or lower age level to adjust for a student’s ability.
“Because each activity is short,” Dr. Montgomery notes, “it’s easy for people to come back over and over again. In fact, the professional team could stay on the same topic for several different sessions. The SLP could do a lesson from a page in the book and the teacher could do the corresponding independent practice on the CD. The same thing could be true the other way. The teacher could do a lesson from the book and say to the SLP ‘right now we’re working on prefixes and suffixes. I see there are follow-up activities on this topic on the CD that you could use in your therapy session.’ In this way, the program reinforces what’s done in classroom and also in therapy.”
“Because each activity is short, it’s easy for people to come back over and over again. In fact, the professional team could stay on the same topic for several different sessions.” —Dr. Judy K. Montgomery
Skills and concepts targeted in the activities include:
- Learning, speaking, reading, and writing
- Language processing of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions
- Antonyms and synonyms
- Word parts (prefixes, suffixes, and roots)
- Meaning and usage
- Word play
When asked to point out something special she’d like her fellow colleagues to notice about The Bridge of Vocabulary, Dr. Montgomery says, “I’d urge them to take the time to read the introduction. Sometimes when we’re busy, we don’t always do this. The introduction isn’t long and it gives all the background information. Best of all, it also provides the most comprehensive research available on how vocabulary informs what we do in instruction—how it makes instruction richer.
“We have the imperative that by 2014 all children must be proficient in all core subjects. So, we have no time to lose. We need excited, effective people working together. And we need robust, collaborative tools to make sure everyone learns. The Bridge of Vocabulary is the first of many versions to come that will combine SLP expertise with that of their educational counterparts’.”
Comprehensive and flexible for maximum usability . . . research based for utmost effectiveness . . . and purple to denote energy and depth, The Bridge of Vocabulary will help us reach the goals of the future.