How Do I Use the Program?       |       Which Level(s) Should I Order?       |       Ordering       |       Shipping


How Do I Use the Program?

Question: How were the vocabulary words in Discussions4Learning chosen?


Answer: The target vocabulary words were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Each word represents high-level, sophisticated vocabulary, rather than vocabulary that students are expected to decode (such as high-frequency words).
  • The words are generative in nature: they are words that students can use in other contexts, or will hear in other contexts. Similarly, they might include prefixes, suffixes, or root words that students can apply to new words.
  • The words are terms that students are likely to encounter in reading texts as they move from the primary grades, with a focus on decodable texts, to higher grades. Regular vocabulary deposits are made in students' oral language banks in the primary grades to prepare them for the more challenging texts — and tests — that they will encounter in the intermediate grades.
  • Each lesson includes at least one noun and at least one verb, to ensure that students increase their vocabulary and develop their skills in acquiring different parts of speech. Adjectives, adverbs, and expressions are also included, as appropriate for the image and the discussion.


Question: How much time do I need to devote to teaching Discussions4Learning in order to ensure results in terms of vocabulary growth and comprehension?


Answer: Discussions4Learning is organized as a four-day a week, 20-minute a day program. However, you can spend just ten minutes a day, two to four days a week, to reap the vocabulary and comprehension rewards of the program.


Question: When is a good time to use Discussions4Learning?


Answer: Discussions4Learning is very flexible and can be used anytime — at the beginning of a class period, before or after school, ESL/ELD time, Intervention time, in a regular class, or as a bridge from one subject area or activity to another.


Question: Does Discussions4Learning include specific activities for different types of learners, such as English Language Learners or gifted and talented students?


Answer: Discussions4Learning is designed to be a whole-group program that provides equal access for all learners, from English language learners to your most linguistically advanced students. The questions are multi-tiered, so that you can provide adequate support for all your learners without having to create separate activities.

The fast pace of each lesson means that there is no need to tailor separate lessons or approaches for different levels of learners. There are plenty of opportunities to ensure that no student is lost, while keeping all students on their toes and challenged.


Question: Is the program appropriate for use with English Language Learners?


Answer: Discussions4Learning enables English Language Learners at all proficiency levels to develop the key academic language skills they will need to deal with the linguistic demands of complex subject matter and challenging texts.

Particularly relevant features for English language learners:

  • The discussion of dazzling fine art images and stunning real-world photos provides a unique, authentic, and engaging context for academic language development.
  • Discussions move from the more here and now to the more decontextualized and inferential in nature.
  • Academically Productive Talk strategies support all learners, including second language speakers, by offering non-threatening ways to participate in discussions, such as restating what another student has said, asking for clarification, providing a different example, or agreeing or disagreeing with another student with a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down gesture.
    • All new vocabulary words are presented using specially designed context sentences that spiral in syntactical complexity and provide ample clues to help students unlock word meanings.
  • Careful language scaffolding of new vocabulary and concepts ensures understanding and promotes the use of independent word learning strategies.
  • Built-in review of target words provides multiple opportunities for learning and internalizing new vocabulary.
  • Since the program emphasis is on oral language rather than connections to print, there is “no floor or ceiling” in terms of requisite decoding or writing abilities. In this way, all students, regardless of language proficiency level, are able to fully participate.
  • For Spanish-speaking English learners in Bilingual Programs, VocabulArte builds on students’ home language capabilities and knowledge to develop academic language skills that readily transfer to English. This is particularly the case when teachers use both VocabulArte and Discussions4Learning.


Question: What assessment options does Discussions4Learning provide?


Answer: The Quick Question Review at the end of each lesson includes a question for each target word in the lesson. This allows you to quickly assess whether students understand the meaning of the target words in each lesson.

Pre- and post-testing can be addressed by using the Quick Question Review questions from each theme before and after each theme, or selected questions at the beginning and end of each school year.


Question: Does Discussions4Learning correlate to the Common Core Standards?


Answer: The English Language Arts Common Core Standards include challenging vocabulary development, comprehension and oral expression.

Discussions4Learning's engaging images provide the tools to address the listening and speaking standards as a crucial foundation to the reading and writing standards which call for students to support their opinions with evidence and analyze the point of view of authors and artists. Discussions4Learning can be used in primary, intermediate, or secondary schools.


Question: What classroom equipment do I need to teach the program?


Answer: You will need the ability to project and have students view digital images. You can use a computer, an LCD projector, and a screen or a whiteboard. You will also need PowerPoint or PowerPoint viewer.


Question: Our students have access to individual computers. Is it possible for my school to project the digital images on more than one computer in the classroom?


Answer: Yes. The price remains the same, as long as there is just one classroom per purchase. In order to project the images on a school server, you will need to sign and submit a licensing agreement to Davis Publications.


Which Level(s) Should I Order?

Question: How do I determine which level to purchase?


Answer: The four levels, A–D, can be used at any grade level K–12 depending on the vocabulary knowledge and language ability of your students. The target vocabulary words, even for Level A, are sophisticated enough for students in the intermediate grades or middle school, yet the lessons have been used successfully as early as Kindergarten. Examples of vocabulary from Level A, for example, include cargo, fragile, camouflage, retract, and elongated. See the vocabulary lists for each level.

The fine art and real-world photos are not age or grade specific, and are equally compelling and engaging to students of all ages.

See the complete Scope and Sequence for each level, including the target words for each lesson and the fine art and real-world photographs for each level.


Ordering Information

Question: How can I order Discussions4Learning?



  • CALL toll free: 800-533-2847
  • FAX your order to: 508-753-3834
  • MAIL your order to:
  • Davis Publications, Inc.
  • 50 Portland Street
  • Worcester, MA 01608

  • When placing an order be sure to include:
    1. A copy of the purchase order
    2. Shipping address
    3. Billing address
    4. Program title and Levels A, B, C, D, or Set A–D
    5. Order code(s)
    6. Price(s)
    7. Other charges (tax, shipping, & handling)


Question: Are credit card orders accepted?


Answer: Discover, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted. Due to heightened credit card security measures, credit card information must be complete and accurate. The three-digit security code must be included. The Bill To address must be your credit card billing address.


Question: Do school orders require a purchase order?


Answer: School orders will be accepted on official school purchase orders or school letterhead.


Question: Must orders include the order code or ISBN number(s)?


Answer: All titles are listed with an order code. Each order code corresponds to a 13-digit ISBN. If you require the full ISBN, please contact our customer service department at 800-533-2847, ext. 2.


Shipping Information

Question: What are your shipping and handling charges for Discussions4Learning?


Answer: Add 10% of your total order. For international orders, call for specific shipping and handling rates. All order discrepancies must be reported within 15 days of receipt of order.

Read what teachers are saying about using Discussions4Learning with their students.