SERIES INTRODUCTIONWelcome to National Geographic Learninga��s new Reading and Vocabulary Focus series. The series delivers memorable reading experiences, develops essential reading skills, and showcases a wide variety of high-utility vocabulary. The passages take readers to exciting new places where they can apply the skills of successful academic readers. While engaged with the content, readers encounter target vocabulary that is ample, diverse, and presented with a fresh, pragmatic view of what the term vocabulary item truly means.Great reading classes depend on top-of-the-line content. Thata��s why wea��ve taken such great care in selecting content for Reading and Vocabulary Focus . Through all four levels (high beginning to low advanced), Reading and Vocabulary Focus draws from the vast resources of National Geographic. High-interest reading content written by some of the worlda��s most authoritative and thought-provoking reporters and explorers is presented in level-appropriate language and used to build reading skills and to promote vocabulary learning. Skill building is of course important, but t for its own sake. Our goal is always, first and foremost, for students to enjoy working with readings that are truly interesting and worth reading. A BROADBAND APPROACH TO VOCABULARYA distinctive feature of Focus is its broadband approach to vocabulary. For each reading passage, three groups of vocabulary are called out: 1) 10a��12 topic-related vocabulary items to consider in pre-reading activities 2) 6a��8 academic wordsa��single word items essential to building an academic vocabulary 3) 6a��8 multiword vocabulary items useful in academic readingA systematic focus on multiword vocabulary sets Reading and Vocabulary Focus apart from most reading/vocabulary texts. Increasingly, more and more teachers and many textbooks recognize that some vocabulary items consist of more than one word, especially phrasal/prepositional verbs (hurry up, take on) and compound uns (glass ceiling, weather station). However, the amount of effort and text space devoted to expanding studentsa�� multiword repertoires is typically minimal and the approach haphazard. Our thinking in the Reading and Vocabulary Focus series has been influenced by numerous researchers who have examined the great importance to native speakers of conventionalized multi-word units, whether those units are called a��chunks,a�� a��strings,a�� or something else. Schmitt and Carter settle on the term formulaic sequences and point out a helpful description by Wray, that formulaic sequences a��are stored and retrieved whole from memory at the time of use rather than being subject to generation and analysis at the time of use by the language grammar.a�� (Schmitt & Carter, 2012, 13) It is t always easy to decide whether a group of words constitutes a unit so tight and useful that it should be taught as a discrete vocabulary item. In our item selection for Focus, we applied the criterion of a��stored and retrieved whole.a�� An item could make the cut if, in the expert judgment of our authors and editors, it was probably treated cognitively as a whole thing. In this way, we were able to judge that such diverse language as pay attention to, on the whole, an invasion of privacy, and be the first to admit are formulaic sequences that learners should study and learn as whole units. We checked our judgment against as many sources as possible, including corpora such as the Bank of English (part of the Collins COBUILD corpus) and the online version of the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). UNIT STRUCTUREEach unit of Reading and Vocabulary Focus begins with a high-impact photograph related to the unit theme to capture the studentsa�� imaginations and allow for pre-reading discussion. The unit theme encourages inquiry and exploration and offers opportunities for synthesis of information. Two reading
Catherine Mazur-Jefferies is an ESL instructor at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts. Catherine holds an MA in TESL from Simmons College and has taught English language learners in Poland, Portugal, and the United States for the past 18 years. Cat has also written and edited a range of materials for National Geographic Learning, including contributions to the Listening and Notetaking Skills series.