STAR @ the Durham Literacy Center

stories and lessons learned about STudent Achievement in Reading

Review lesson on -cious words

leave a comment »





-cious words cover slide

Click on the image of the slide above to go to the lesson on words that end in -cious.




Written by AdultLit

March 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Words to Learn By (a real time-saving series!)

leave a comment »

If you are still looking for ways to cut down on your prep time for vocabulary lessons, do yourself a favor and order copies of Contemporary’s fabulous new Words to Learn By series.  This three-book series is based firmly in the research and is designed to help students improve their high-frequency academic  (Tier 2) vocabulary. Each book contains 20 lessons, and each lesson introduces 5 new vocabulary words, provides contexts for the new words, and guides students in using the words in a structured sequence of practice activities. (The series was developed by two STAR-trained instructors — Stephen Dolainski and S. Elizabeth Griffin — and published by Contemporary/McGraw Hill. Student workbooks are $15.00; Teacher’s Editions are $30. There is also an app that students with smart phones (iphones and androids) can use for additional practice.)

Each lesson in the student workbooks follows this format:

  • Knowledge Rating Chart (to assess and monitor student knowledge of words)
  • Word Meaning Chart (which provides definitions and a place to record examples)
  • Exercise 1:  Use the Words (fill-in-the-blank sentences)                 Read the rest of this entry »

Written by AdultLit

August 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

Reader Profiles

leave a comment »

We have modified the Reader Profile provided on the STAR Toolkit to facilitate discussions with students about their assessment results.  This version includes a bar chart of the student’s mastery levels for each of the four components as well as a line indicating the student’s CASAS (or TABE) score.  Click on the following links to download the file:

  • READER PROFILE (Modified Template) for use with your students. Feel free to adapt it as needed.  (If you come up some modifications that you feel are particularly useful, feel free to email them to us so that we can share them on the blog.)

The three sections at the bottom of the form – Strengths, Needs, and Other Notes – can be as detailed as needed.  If we are conducting assessments for other instructors or volunteer tutors, for example, we tend to get very specific, sharing more information from the comprehension interview and indicating specific phonics gaps noted during the alphabetics and fluency assessments.  We might even recommend specific strategies and resources to use for specific components.

Written by AdultLit

October 13, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Free Vocabulary and Alphabetics Resource

leave a comment »

Here is another great resource for vocabulary and alphabetics lessons that focus on word structure and meaning (root words & affixes):

The section I have found most useful is the Word Families subsection, which is part of Vocabulary Basics & Parts of Speech.  Here is the table of contents for the Vocabulary Basics & Parts of Speech section:

Vocabulary Basics & Parts of Speech

This section of is all about learning vocabulary basics and parts of speech!

I want to learn more about…

Written by AdultLit

September 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

A great source for vocab lessons!

leave a comment »

The Adult Learning Resource Center (Arlington Heights, IL) has published on its web site a set of 10 complete vocabulary units developed by STAR training participants and edited by ALRC staff. ALRC staff describe the vocabulary units as follows:

“Each unit covers ten academic words and includes the following components:

  • Word list with meanings and examples to use for direct instruction of word meanings
  • Answer keys for Matching and Fill-in activities
  • Matching Activity
  • Fill-in-the-Blank Activity (1 blank)
  • Fill-in-the-Blanks Activity (2 blanks)
  • Sentence Completion Activity
  • True/False and Why Activity
  • Yes/No and Why Activity
  • Suggested Writing Prompts

Teachers may use these activities as is or adapt and personalize them for their own classes.”

As always, it’s a good idea to add some relevant examples and discussion prompts tailored for your students.

(One of the ALRC staff members who edited these materials (Laura Bercovitz) was a co-trainer in the STAR training that Gardy and I attended.  She was amazing!)

Written by dlcstaruser

February 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Resource List

leave a comment »

We are using the following resources in our STAR classes:

Alphabetics:  We are using the Megawords series to teach affixes and to fill any other gaps in students’ word identification skills.  In some classes, we are going through all of Book 1 (to ensure that students are familiar with the 6 syllable types and 5 syllabication rules) and then bouncing around the other books to cover any additional needs.  In other classes, we are able to start off with lessons on root words and affixes.

Fluency: We are doing collaborative oral reading with variety of novels other longer texts to improve students’ ability to identify words accurately in context (see prior post: Fluency Favorites).  To target rate and prosody, we are doing echo readings with shorter texts, including passages from the appropriate levels in the Six-Way Paragraphs series and the Timed Readings series.

Vocabulary: We are currently using the Townsend Press Vocabulary Series, specifically Vocabulary Basics, Groundwork for a Better Vocabulary, and Building Vocabulary Skills.

Comprehension: Only a few of our students are doing STAR comprehension activities at this point in time.  For those students, we doing summarizing exercises with short passages pulled from a variety of levelled sources, such as:  Six-Way Paragraphs, Timed Readings, and various periodicals.

Written by AdultLit

February 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

Posted in Resources

Fluency Favorites

leave a comment »

The following novels seem to be the favorites of our STAR students thus far:

  • Holes by Louis Sachar (RL: 5)
  • Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (RL: 5)
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (RL: 5)
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (RL: 7/8)
  • Indigo Summer by Monica McKayhan (RL: 4)
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (RL: 5)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (GL: 7/8)

Written by AdultLit

February 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

Posted in Resources