We are excited to announce our partnership with Austin ISD to implement a new volunteer management platform at austinisd.voly.org. Please note that the current APIE portal will no longer be accepting applications as of June 26.

Pre-Teaching Vocabulary

A friend was reading a book recently and about ten pages into it, asked if I knew a word that the author had used. I didn’t. We tried to guess, based on its use in the sentence.

Failing that, she put the book aside to find a dictionary. It happened again, perhaps twenty pages later. And again. By the fifth encounter with obscure language, she put the book aside for good. Though highly literate, she was simply having to work too hard to stay engaged with the story on the page.

For the two students I coached in reading last year, nearly every sentence contained words that were unfamiliar to them. Some, like courage and scarcely, were intended to extend their vocabulary; others, like swamp, were simply inaccessible to children who have no context for “a lowland region saturated with water.” As a new coach, I had them start into a new story each week. We stopped each time they encountered an unfamiliar word or phrase. I took great care to explain the meanings, giving examples that they might identify with, sometimes even drawing crude illustrations. I made flash cards with the words and definitions so that we could practice from week to week. They learned some of the words. However, they rarely knew what the story was about by the time we reached the end.

Pre-teaching vocabulary is one of the most important strategies we can employ to build reading fluency and comprehension. For students learning to read, reviewing the most challenging words in advance is like turning on the lamps in a darkened room: it illuminates the contours of the story to come, making it more accessible. Once I started pre-teaching vocabulary, I noticed that my students were more willing to read aloud and their comprehension of the story line improved. Perhaps most importantly, they discovered enjoyment in the simple act of reading. – Pat.


Website Holiday Message - 400 x 700 px

Austin Partners in Education will be closed beginning Friday, December 22 and ending Friday, January 5. We will return to normal business hours on Monday, January 8. All emails, phone calls, and volunteer background check applications will be completed upon our return. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Happy Holidays!

Austin Partners in Education cerrará comenzando el viernes 22 de diciembre y hasta el viernes 5 de enero. Volveremos al horario comercial normal el lunes 8 de enero. Todos los correos electrónicos, llamadas telefónicas y solicitudes de verificación de antecedentes de voluntarios se completarán a nuestro regreso. Gracias por su paciencia y comprensión. ¡Felices Fiestas!

Volunteer registration is closed for most AISD campuses until next school year. Registration will remain open for schools that are seeking volunteers for summer programming.

If you’d like to be notified when registration for APIE’s Mentoring and Math Classroom Coaching programs are open for 2024-2025, sign up to be on our early notification email list!