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For emerging writers, for English language learners, for students with special needs, writing can be a challenge. Visual learners might like to sketch things out first. Even fluent writers will appreciate a change now and then. For all of them, and for teachers, Storyboard That! provides an effective learning tool for development of literacy skills. … Read more.

Building Word Skills

We spend a lot of time helping kids compose words of beauty and power, words that express how they see themselves and their world. We spend time helping them learn to read words that amuse, that explain, that persuade. How can we help kids learn to love words themselves?

Kids who love words will never be intimidated by a dictionary. They'll explore connotations; they'll seek out just the right word; they'll laugh (and groan!) at puns. How can we share our own enchantment with a well-chosen word and thereby help them build a vocabulary based on curiosity and delight?

Here are some possibilities:

  • 12 Ways to Learn Vocabulary With The New York Times
    These strategies will work with any quality online news source, including your hometown newspaper.
  • 12 Words and Phrases That Originated in the Funny Pages
    Looking for a nontraditional vocabulary/etymology lesson? Have students add to this list from more recent comics.
  • Calliope, Muse of Eloquence
    An interactive site exploring English words derived from classical mythology. Printable sheets available at the site help guide student learning.
  • Dinosaurs: Prefixes and Suffixes
    In this lesson, students will use a variety of prefixes and suffixes to create their own dinosaur names. They will draw a picture of the new dinosaur, and then type, edit, and print a story using a word processor. Designed for grades 4-5.
  • Kindergarten and First Grade Vocabulary and Word Skills
    Twenty-five lessons on a variety of word skills. Each lesson is accompanied by activities, with all necessary game pieces and manipulatives provided as printables. Save this 135-page document to your computer and print out only the pages you need. This is a rich resource!
  • The Power of Simple Words
    Long, fancy words designed to show off intelligence and vocabulary aren't always the best writing choice. This short (2:02), playful video from TED-ED explains why simple, punchy language is often the clearest way to convey a message. Captioned, includes follow-up questions at the end; appropriate for middle school and older.
  • Vivid Words
    In this technology-integrated lesson students respond to a visual image by generating a list of descriptive words. They use online sources to discover synonyms for one of the words, select one, and search for the synonym in use online. Then they use a slide presentation to teach their new word to the class. Appropriate for grades 6-12.
  • Visualizing Vocabulary
    High school students work with prefixes, suffixes, and root words and with illustrating concepts. This lesson is part of the National Writing Project.
  • Vocabulary Boards
    As a prereading activity, students create storyboards that use a vocabulary word in a sentence correctly. Designed for grades 3-12 by our partners at Storyboard That!.

Find more ideas for developing vocabulary at Web English Teacher!

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