The VASE word bank consists of thousands of words from math, science,social studies, and English language arts. This corpus was developed from a careful examination of 19 California adopted textbooks math, science, socials, ELA) commonly used in fourth and fifth grades, 21 Newbery Medal books, and the 2010 California English Language Arts standards for 4th and 5th grades. Three teachers with an average experience of 28 years teaching in diverse elementary schools helped us develop and finalize our word identification process and protocol. Then, along with five other teachers (averaging 9.4 years in elementary classrooms), they helped us identify words that would be unfamiliar or conceptually new to fourth and fifth graders. All the teachers had worked with diverse students; two had been teachers in Spanish-English bilingual programs, one had taught mostly immigrant students from Asia and Africa, and the rest had taught diverse students from a variety of income and language backgrounds. They identified over 39,000 words that are “unfamiliar” or “conceptually new” for fourth and fifth graders from these sources.
All of the activities and lessons found at this website have been derived from this corpus of actual words used in 4th and 5th grade textbooks and novels, and identified in at least two sources, that are commonly found in California schools. This is unique, as most vocabulary activities are based on hypothesized use and have not been derived by teachers looking at the textbooks and novels found in classrooms.