Frankly Freddy Blog

TextProject president and CEO Elfrieda H. (Freddy) Hiebert blogs about important issues in reading research and practice.

Frankly Freddy entries (published from 2005 to 2014) have been sorted into five topics of literacy learning and instruction. Click here to download the ebook!

October 1, 2009

Private, Personal, and Peculiar

Freddy Hiebert

An idiom is a phrase whose meaning cannot be established by a literal translation of the words in the phrase.


September 11, 2009

Welcome back, Freddy

Freddy Hiebert

Some of you may remember that ’70s show—Welcome back, Kotter! Well…I’m welcoming myself back to writing Frankly Freddy. Why, after a three-year hiatus, would I resurrect this column? One reason is that I’ve joined a cooperative work space here in SantaRead More »Welcome back, Freddy


September 9, 2009

Everyday Events

Freddy Hiebert

Vocabulary is one of the topics that Cassidy and Cassidy listed as hot in Reading Today. Vocabulary should always be a hot topic in that it forms the foundation of knowing and learning anything. A typical direction that educators take when a topic is hot is to think of lessons and materials and curriculum. These things are part of the solution but an additional resource lies in the everyday talk of classrooms. Language is the medium of human interaction and, like any human context, language fills classroom life.


March 7, 2008

Word Findings #8

Freddy Hiebert

Word consciousness is much more than knowing about words or even knowing many words. Word consciousness is also a disposition—an appreciation of words and an interest in them.


December 19, 2007

Word Findings #7

Freddy Hiebert

Beyond the primary grades, the language of written texts becomes more sophisticated than the language of oral language. This doesn’t mean, however, that students don’t need numerous opportunities to hear and express sophisticated vocabulary in oral language.


November 5, 2007

Word Findings #6

Freddy Hiebert

Emphasizing vocabulary as a first step of a lesson makes sense in that different languages use different words to represent the same concepts. Students may already have the concept in their native language or at least some relevant background knowledge to the concept.


August 30, 2007

Word Findings #5

Freddy Hiebert

School texts, especially those in content areas, have a special register called academic language. Within the academic language of content area textbooks, distinctions can be made in vocabulary.


April 17, 2007

Word Findings #4

Freddy Hiebert

If educators are to make a dent in the vocabulary gap that currently exists between low- and high-achieving students, disciplined ways of selecting words for instruction—and assessments—are needed.


March 27, 2007

Word Findings #3

Freddy Hiebert

In many schools and for the many topics that are part of a school curriculum, field trips aren’t possible. A Vocabulary Visit serves as a viable alternative, providing students with a multitude of experiences with the core words related to a topic.


March 20, 2007

Word Findings #2

Freddy Hiebert

Learning the stories behind words can be intriguing. The creation of Word Stories can be a way to involve students in the adventure of language.