ABSTRACT

Colorful samples of student work decorated the halls, and out in the paved courtyard vibrant leaves whirled and danced. Students chanted in rhythm, moving their bodies to the beat, clearly enjoying themselves. Leslie and Margot teach at one of the highest-poverty public elementary schools in Kentucky. As Leslie and Margot talked about the professional development ideas, they realized that the children in their classrooms needed vocabulary instruction every day. In order to receive federal Reading First grants in 2002, states had to commit to assess phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. According to district statistics, students in Leslie Montgomery and Margot Holmes’s classes scored higher on the GRADE vocabulary subtest than students in other Reading First classrooms at their grade level. For example, the vocabulary rap idea came from Andrea Marcum, an excellent music teacher at Arlington Elementary School in Lexington, who shared it at a Kentucky Reading Association conference session.