Mindful of Words

Second Edition
Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations, Grades 4-8

Kathy Ganske

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
September 23, 2020
ISBN 9781462544288
Price: $90.00
406 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
September 23, 2020
ISBN 9781462544271
Price: $40.00
406 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
September 24, 2020
Price: $40.00
406 Pages
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406 Pages
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This treasured resource for upper-elementary and middle school teachers—now in a revised second edition with a new lesson-planning framework—presents ready-to-use activities to advance students' spelling and vocabulary knowledge, including academic vocabulary. In a large-size format for easy photocopying, the volume provides over 120 reproducible word sorts, organized by spelling stages, plus additional reproducible forms, word lists, and activities in the appendices. Kathy Ganske's research-based approach emphasizes cognitive engagement, discussion, and active learning. The book features firsthand tips from experienced teachers, strategies for building morphological awareness, “Did You Know?” sections with absorbing stories about specific words, discussions of idioms, and literature suggestions. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible appendix materials.

New to This Edition See also Ganske's Word Journeys, Second Edition: Assessment-Guided Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Instruction, which provides a comprehensive framework for assessing and building word knowledge, and Word Sorts and More, Second Edition: Sound, Pattern, and Meaning Explorations K–3, which presents word study activities for the primary grades.

“A great resource for upper-level word study. Ganske shares strategies and routines that can easily be incorporated into the instructional day through large- and small-group instruction, literacy stations, and independent study. Her systematic approach is well grounded in research and classroom experience. The book provides a sample script and suggested activities for each component, including a mini-lesson for academic vocabulary development and engagement activities that can be generalized to other lessons. Each word sort includes Talking Points and Considerations that informs the instructional delivery and allows teachers to differentiate appropriately for students. The SAIL lesson framework includes useful oral and written assessment components that focus on deeper understanding of word meanings.”

—Brit Sikes, EdS, literacy specialist, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee

“Linking vocabulary development to spelling and writing is the foundation of Ganske's approach. This book shows how student talk and teacher observation are the focal points of effective teaching that makes students interested in words. Highlights of the second edition include practical insights from researchers and more explicit suggestions for working with multilingual learners. The new SAIL framework emphasizes the importance of connecting word study with students’ background knowledge. Providing concrete strategies and a rich array of instructional tools, this accessible resource for teachers and teacher educators expands our knowledge about what makes vocabulary so important.”

—Pamela A. Mason, EdD, Senior Lecturer and Director, Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Filled with intriguing and delightful examples, this book will be an asset to upper-elementary and middle school English language arts teachers and reading specialists. The many examples of word lists and instructional practices include clear guidance on how to use the practices, with whom, and why. The second edition includes perspectives from literacy researchers as well as expert teachers, through firsthand accounts that expand on and provide grounding for Ganske's instructional recommendations.”

—Amy C. Crosson, EdD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Penn State College of Education

“Too often, understanding the power of words is reserved only for a portion of the classroom community—particularly eluding key populations such as low-socioeconomic status students and students with disabilities. In this updated second edition, Ganske provides explicit teaching strategies that are helpful for all learners. As a resource specialist provider who collaborates with general education teachers, I find the strategies in this book immensely useful. With Ganske’s work, now all students can have access to the power of words.”

—Laura Wilczek, MEd, resource specialist provider, Chula Vista Elementary School District, California

Table of Contents

I. Introduction to Word Study

1. Setting the Stage sample

II. The Voices of Researchers and Teachers

2. Researcher Perspectives

3. Teacher to Teacher: Tips from Teachers for Teachers

III. Word Study Instructional Activities

4. Word Study for Syllable Junction Spellers

5. Word Study for Derivational Constancy Spellers

Appendix A. Performance Records

Appendix B. Sampling of 100+ Important Math Words

Appendix C. Sampling of 100+ Important Science Words

Appendix D. Sampling of 100+ Important Social Studies Words

Appendix E. Blank Word Card Template

Appendix F. Homophone Rummy Answer Key: Sample Sentences

Appendix G. Understanding Prefixes

Appendix H. Applying Prefix Knowledge to Common Latin Roots

Appendix I. Lesson Guide for Word Study with SAIL

Appendix J. Recognizing and Categorizing Cognates through Morphology, Anita C. Hernández & José A. Montelongo

Appendix K. Spanish Translations of Academic Vocabulary Relevant to Specific SAIL Components, Translated by Anita C. Hernández & José A. Montelongo


Index of Words Used in the Sorts

About the Author

Kathy Ganske, PhD, is Research Professor, Retired, in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. She has been involved in researching, using, refining, and teaching about word study practices since the 1990s. Dr. Ganske’s work is grounded in extensive teaching experience in elementary classrooms. Her recent research interests include vocabulary development during small-group word study instruction and literacy reform in challenging schools. Dr. Ganske is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including Word Journeys, Second Edition; Word Sorts and More, Second Edition; and Mindful of Words, Second Edition, as well as numerous articles and book chapters.


Classroom teachers in grades 4–8; staff developers; teacher educators and graduate students.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in literacy methods courses.

Word Sorts and More: Second Edition: Sound, Pattern, and Meaning Explorations K-3, Word Journeys: Second Edition: Assessment-Guided Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Instruction and Mindful of Words: Second Edition: Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations, Grades 4-8Special package offer: Word Journeys: Second Edition: Assessment-Guided Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Instruction provides a comprehensive framework for assessing and building word knowledge. Word Sorts and More, Second Edition: Sound, Pattern, and Meaning Explorations K-3 and Mindful of Words, Second Edition: Spelling and Vocabulary Explorations, Grades 4-8 present a wealth of ready-to-use word study activities.

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Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2008
ISBN: 9781593858223
New to this edition: