Marjorie Lipson


While Marjorie Lipsonís work concerns itself primarily with literacy of school children, the following suggestions can be applied to ESL instruction in all skill areas.


Significant contributions:


  • Basal readers are insufficient as the basis of reading programs.
  • A studentís erroneous prior knowledge is more detrimental to learning new skills than no prior knowledge.
  • Accommodate differences of prior knowledge through constructive interaction synthesizing prior knowledge, the text, the reading situation or context. This constructive process takes place in both reading and writing.


    • Accommodate differences in reading knowledge and skill within a class by 1) limiting the scope of the information search at any given time 2) creating an information index with students, 3) varying the response mode.
    • Accommodate differences in prior knowledge: study vocabulary that challenges both decoding abilities and vocabulary that builds the conceptual framework of the text.
      • Word Wonder (Speigel 1984) Teacher suggests a theme, students produce words they THINK will follow.
      • List, Group, Label (Tiernes, Reading, Dishner 1985): Group words into sublists and create titles for sublists.
      • Explanation Outline (Speigel 1984)



    • Accommodate Differences in Comprehension
      • Semantic Mapping
      • Fanning ( Similar to mapping but motivated by 3 levels of questions: text implicit, text explicit, and personal)
      • Story Maps


  • Teach Strategies (Cooper)
    • Inferencing
    • Identifying Important Information
    • Monitoring
    • Summarizing
    • Generating Questions
  • Strategies are selected to accomplish a particular goal.
  • The purpose of evaluation is to inform instruction , contribute to the cycle of improving method in the goal of facilitating learning. Evaluation is not an ends in itself.
  • Make a strategy poster
  • Make reading public: cooperative work groups.

How does the institution of national testing inform instruction and facilitate learning in a meaningful time frame?


  • Lipson, M. Y. (1984). Some unexpected issues to prior knowledge; The Reading Teacher, 37, 760-76 



  • Lipson, M. Y., Bigler, M., Poth, L., & Wickizer, B. ; Instructional applications of a verbal report methodology: The effects of thinking aloud on comprehension ability. Paper presented at the 37th annual meeting of the National Reading Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.; Dec. 1987



  • Cross, D. R., & Lipson, M.Y. ; Informed strategies for learning: A program to improve children's reading awareness and comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology;  76,1239-1252; 1984


  • Paris, S. G., Lipson, M.Y., &Wixson, K. K.; Becoming a strategic reader. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8, 293-316; 1983