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!

  • Webinar: How Words and Literature Support Hope in Classrooms

    In this presentation, Elfrieda H. (Freddy) Hiebert builds on her research on vocabulary and the article “Fostering Hope with Children’s Literature” (The Reading Teacher, 2022), in describing how literature for children and adolescents can create a community of hope in classrooms.

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NEW! 11/17/23 Presentation Handout – Teaching Vocabulary for Comprehension & Engagement: Applying the Science of Reading


Everyday Events

September 9, 2009

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.

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Word Findings #8

March 7, 2008

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.

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Word Findings #7

December 19, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #6

November 5, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #5

August 30, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #4

April 17, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #3

March 27, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #2

March 20, 2007

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.

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Word Findings #1

March 14, 2007

Freddy Hiebert

As students move through the grades, morphological awareness increasingly predicts students’ reading.

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Does self-selected reading have a place in a comprehension program?

July 20, 2006

Freddy Hiebert

How can we scaffold or support the development of proficient self-selected reading? The answer is not to put students into contexts without any guidance. That is, students shouldn’t spend instructional time with text that they have self-selected when they have not been taught how to select books.

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