Jana Leggett

Speech Language Pathologist, Toronto District School Board

Sherry Raffalovitch

Speech Language Pathologist, Toronto District School Board


Increasing Student Achievement through Deep Vocabulary Instruction

Research has demonstrated that oral vocabulary skills predict overall academic success. As a result, it is critical that all teachers have a thorough understanding of how students learn to understand and use varied words when speaking, reading and writing. It is also essential that teachers employ effective instructional strategies that actively engage students in their vocabulary learning.

In this 40 minute workshop attendees will:
• Experience what it means to have deep vs shallow vocabulary knowledge
• Understand how oral vocabulary supports the development of oral language, decoding, reading comprehension, and written expression.
• Learn how deep vocabulary understanding develops in typically developing students and those that have communication needs.
• Learn specific, research based strategies to support vocabulary learning in the classroom.
• Walk away with functional ideas to implement in the classroom the next day.

The frameworks, strategies, and information discussed in this workshop are based on the research and works of the following researchers:
• Isabel Beck, PhD; M. McKeown, PhD; L. Kucan PhD
• Louisa Moats, PhD
• J. Cummins, PhD
• M. Wolff PhD
• C Perfetti, PhD
• National Reading Panel


Jana Leggett is a Speech Language Pathologist with the Toronto District School Board where she has worked as a consultant for the last 16 years. Her role includes completing speech, language, literacy and communication assessments, delivering direct intervention, assisting teachers with in-class programming and IEP development, and providing teacher training in research based instructional strategies. Jana is a co-author of Oral Language at Your Finger Tips. She holds an appointment with the University of Toronto in the Speech Language Pathology Department where she is an adjunct instructor of the Child Language Course. Jana is the author and instructor of UofT’s and OSLA’s Con-Ed Advanced Literacy Practices for SLPs.

Sherry Raffalovitch is a Speech-Language Pathologist who is in her 17th year working for the Toronto District School Board. Sherry started her career with TDSB in the Kindergarten Early Language Intervention Program (KELI) where she co-instructed with a teacher to support at-risk senior kindergarten students. She went on to design and pilot a co-instructional research based approach to teaching literacy for Grade 1 and 2 students. Sherry designed and ran a summer school program for at risk primary students at Thorncliffe Park in 2014 and continued that program in 2015. She also served as the Vice-President of ONBIDA from 2012- 2015.