Teaching students to tune into interesting words is something I do in the first week of school. This strategy fits under Expand Vocabulary on the CAFÉ menu. When readers pay attention to the words around them, they will slowly begin to develop their own vocabulary for both reading and writing. They can pay attention to words through listening to someone read or reading a story by themselves. Keeping a collection of interesting words will help students give importance and meaning to these new words. Hopefully, as we talk about the words we have collected from texts, students can transfer their word knowledge to their own reading and writing.
Explaining the Strategy:
“This author really chose his words carefully when she said…”
“Did you notice any interesting words in your reading?”
Ideas for Teaching:
- Keep a word-collector in the classroom. Use and poster-size ABC Chart so the words you find will be organized by the beginning sound. Review the words on the word-collector a few times each week and add new words regularly.
- During an interactive read-aloud, stop and make a big deal about one or two words. Point out how much you love the word and write it on the word-collector.
- Keep another ABC Chart to keep track of academic words from the content areas. Review these words regularly using vocabulary review games and activities.
This website belongs to Kristina Smekens, a presenter for the 6+1 Traits of writing in our area. This link gives many ideas and lessons for teaching word choice, also related to interesting vocabulary.
This tool allows you to print an ABC chart with the words you choose typed into it. I think it is helpful to use for students to have their own copy of the ABC chart. Also, it makes it easy to update often.
Supporting Picture Books:
Cannon, J. (2000). Crickwing. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.
- Crickwing is about a cockroach. Using great word choice, Cannon is able to capture a different side of a cockroach than most of us might know.
O’Connor, J. (2006). Fancy Nancy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
- Fancy Nancy uses such colorful vocabulary. There are so many words you can point out while reading this story aloud.
Edwards, P. (1996). Some Smug Slug. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
- This has many examples of alliteration. The story is told using words that begin with s, both common and uncommon.
Boushey, G., & Moser, J. (2009). The cafe book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.
Reutzel, D., & Cooter, Jr., R. (1999). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.