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Embracing the Zone: Learning How to Blog with our Students


A tool for profiling the linguistic output of children whether ... Edwards & Gibbon (1964). Words your children use. 220 words based on children's books. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Embracing the Zone: Learning How to Blog with our Students

Lextutor for Kids Profiling the Vocabulary of
K-2 Learners Hetty Roessingh, PhD hroessin_at_ucalga
ry.ca Tom Cobb, PhD cobb.tom_at_uqam.ca  www.lextut
Funded in part by (File Number 410-2006-2530)
What is the Lextutor?
  • A tool for profiling the linguistic output of
    children whether narrative or written discourse.
  • Childrens linguistic output does not follow the
    same pattern as adults.
  • There is a need for a tool to profile the
    language of pre-literate youngsters aged 5 7
    given the rapid increase of generation 1.5.

  • What are the high frequency words that children
    aged 4 7 typically use that serve as the
    building blocks, or the core, for their emergent
    literacy development?
  • Beyond this core of spoken vocabulary, what kinds
    of vocabulary do children have and need that
    reflects their growing communicative abilities
    and their cognitive development as they begin to
    engage with the curriculum demands of school?
  • What sampling strategies are most efficacious for
    assessing the vocabulary levels of preliterate

What We Know
  • Children use the first 250 words to communicate
    around 75 80 in their every day talk.
  • Children of aged 7 should know about 2500 head

What We Want to Know
  • We want to know how to sample and profile a
    childs output to tell us whether they are over
    dependent on the first 250 words and whether the
    remaining words reflect a good distribution of
    the words in the increasingly higher vocabulary
    bands (10 bands of 250 words each).
  • In other words, linguistic diversity includes
  • The number of total words
  • The number of different words
  • The distribution of words across the word bands
  • We want to develop profiles of good ESL
    acquisition compared to native speakers.

Developing the Tool
  • We assembled various word lists of childrens
    linguistic output.
  • Criteria for selection of the lists included
  • List is based on primary, longitudinal research.
  • List consists of words identified at ages 4, 5,
    6, and 7, providing a developmental perspective
    on language acquisition.
  • List includes words that children might recognize
    and use in their initial literacy development
    (beginning reading and writing efforts).
  • List of words was generated in various contexts
    of language use at play, at home and at school.
  • The method for generating the language was varied
    and included open ended, spontaneous childrens
    talk, as well as directed / scaffolded activity
    that would promote the childs best effort at
    marshaling vocabulary available in the service of
    naming, describing, explaining, hypothesizing
    about his/her unfolding understanding of the
  • List included a large sample size.
  • Time spent in the field gathering the language
    samples was sufficient for the purposes of
    generating the list.
  • The words were collated and leveled into 10
    groups of 250 words each.
  • Each word represented a word family.

The Lists
The Tool
Sampling Strategy
  • The task design used to elicit the language
    sample took into account the following
  • 1) developmentally appropriate and cognitively
  • 2) authentic
  • 3) constructivist and engaging
  • 4) language focus factors such as memory
    capacity of youngsters reduced or eliminated
  • 5) culturally accessible to a diverse group of
  • 6) high interest and motivational value.

A boy, a dog, and a frog (Mercer Mayer, 1967)
  • The wordless story book A boy, a dog and a frog
    (Mayer, 1967) was chosen as a prompt and a
    scaffold for eliciting spontaneous talk. The
    book consists of 29 black and white sketches of a
    young boy with his dog seeking to capture a frog.
    A series of humorous incidents leaves the boy
    and his dog returning home empty handed. The
    frog eventually follows their footprints home and
    joins his new found friends in the bath tub.

Pages from the book
Sample of Output (Native Speaker)
  • He tries to catch a frog. He sees a pond. Then,
    he sees a frog and he wants to catch it. And
    then the boy wants to catch the frog but he trips
    and he ends up in the water. Plop! So does his
    doggie. And the little boy says, rrrrrrr!!!!!
    and the frog says, ribbit. And then the boy
    tries to catch the frog. Ribbit, ribbit. And
    then he sees the frog and the frog goes, ribbit,
    ribbit, ribbit. Then the boy is going to catch
    him again. And the dog is swimming away. Woof,
    woof, woof. He doesnt see the frog. Hes going
    to catch him in his net. And he ends up catching
    the dog, and the frog goes over board. And the
    frog quietly creeps away. Hes angry. And the
    boy wants to get that frog. But he cant. He
    thinks hes going to hop on the lily pad. So he
    gives up. He is leaving the frog. He follows the
    trail. The trail goes to the house. He finds
    the boy in the bath tub with the dog at the end
    of the hallway, and hes so happy to see the
    frog. The end. And from now on hell take care
    of him.

Profile (Native Speaker)
Sample of Output (ESL)
  • Taking a walk. Hes going down. Hes running and
    hes going to fall. He fell in. His dog fell in.
    A bucket. The frog jumped. Hes going with the
    dog. The frog is in the tree. I think he wants
    to scare him. The frog is watching the boy. The
    boy is watching to the tree. He wants to catch
    the frog. Hes going to catch him. He got his
    dog! Hes under. He got the dog. He feels like
    hes angry. I think hes going to punch him. He
    looks sad. Hes really sad. I think hes going to
    his house. Well, hes angry. Hes sad.
    Footprints! I think hes going to follow the
    footprints. Hes going to his house. Up to the
    bathroom. Theres the boy. Hes happy. I dont
    know. Hes going to jump into the tub. Hes
    happy. Hes going to sit on the dog.

Profile (ESL)
Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test
  • This test efficiently measures a childs
    vocabulary level by age and percentile rank.
  • Each childs score will be correlated to the
    vocabulary profile.
  • For example, for the previous ESL profile (child
    was 5 years, 6 months old) the EOWPVT scores are
    as follows
  • Raw 44(ceiling item) 7 (errors) 37
  • Percentile rank 5
  • Age Equiv. 3-6
  • Placing her two years behind her native speaking
  • We will revisit this child a year from now to
    note patterns of (accelerated) vocabulary
  • We want to know if we can establish a trajectory
    for ESL learners that is distinguishable from a
    native speaker profile, a learning disabled
    profile, and a developmentally delayed profile
    and target interventions that will bring her to
    the linguistic thresholds that will permit
    academic success over time.
  • That is, will this child be at the 30th
    percentile a year from now.

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  • Beukelman, D., Jones, R., Rowan, M. (1989).
    Frequency of word usage by nondisabled peers in
    integrated preschool classrooms. Augmentative and
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  • Biemiller, A. (1999). Language and reading
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  • Biemiller, A. Slonim, N. (2001). Estimating
    root word vocabulary growth in normative and
    advantaged populations Evidence for a common
    sequence of vocabulary acquisition. Journal of
    Educational Psychology, 93(3), 498-520. Available
  • Chall, J.S., Jacobs, V.A. Baldwin, L.E. (1990).
    The reading crisis Why poor children fall
    behind. Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press.
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    MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory.
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    vocabulary for nonspeaking preschool children
    based on developmental and environmental language
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    language features in spoken narratives of
    children with typical language and children with
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    Hearing Services in Schools, 32, 114-125.
    Available online.
  • Hart, B. Risley, T. (2003). The early
    catastrophe The 30 million word gap by age 3.
    American Educator, Spring, 2003. Retrieved July
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  • http//www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/
  • Hart, B. Risley, T. (1999) Learning to talk The
    social world of children. Toronto, ON Paul H.
    Brooks Publishing Co.
  • Harris, A. Jacobson, M. (1973/74). Some
    comparisons between Basic Elementary Reading
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