Zaner-Bloser’s vocabulary programs, Word Heroes (K–2) and Word Wisdom (3–6), show students that noticing and acquiring new words can be fun and rewarding. With deep understanding of word meanings, the world of reading and writing opens up.
Vocabulary learning doesn’t have to be dull or rote. Rather, instruction can build an appreciation of words and engage students in unlocking their meanings.
The more high-impact Tier 2 words students know, the better they can understand all kinds of texts—content-area textbooks, articles, biographies, stories, and poems.
Using words in written and spoken language gives students a chance to exhibit true ownership of words. The goal is for students to use new words to communicate their own ideas and demonstrate what they know.
In Word Heroes and Word Wisdom, words are learned in the context of reading passages in thematic units. They are not taught in isolation, nor memorized. Instead, students engage with a rich selection of words in context and make connections that build meaning so that they can use the words to convey ideas, knowledge, memories, and feelings effectively.
Lesson contexts are established by reading and re-reading an initial text, typically a passage from an area of science, social studies, health, art, or literature. Whether read aloud or independently, these passages
Across grades K–6, Word Heroes and Word Wisdom vocabulary words were carefully selected. They are high-utility, academic words that are general enough to be used across domains, and they are well suited to direct instruction. Researchers call them Tier 2 words. In the upper grades, students advance to unlocking some Tier 3 words from science, social studies, and other domains.
Students have multiple opportunities to see, interact with, and use the words in a variety of contexts. In addition to exposure in the reading passages, students may
Word Heroes is available for grades K–2, and Word Wisdom is available for grades 3–6. Download a sample unit of instruction for your grade level.