DISCOVER, Decode, Dissect, Develop, Discuss, Define

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Freebies | 0 comments

For me, reading has always been not only a quest for pleasure and enlightenment but also a word-hunting expedition, a lexical safari.
― Charles Harrington Elster

Welcome to my newly redesigned blog! There will be more about the penguins another day… but for now I’d like to talk about the words at the top. I will highlight one each day.

I think the quote by Charles Harrington Elster is the perfect place to start. If students were to see reading as a word-hunting expedition, a safari searching out unknown words, what fun they could have! Mr. Elster also said, “To enjoy and learn from what you read you must understand the meanings of the words a writer uses. You do yourself a grave disservice if you read around words you don’t know, or worse, merely guess at what they mean without bothering to look them up.” This year one of my struggling third graders read around words every day, despite my constant attempts to help her learn to decode and develop them. Her first line of defense when presented with a new word was a mumble. If I did not catch her, that was also her last effort on the word.

I want to always encourage my students to discover new words. We had a dictionary section in our Word Study journal for new words, but we didn’t make use of it. I think my students are aware of my love of language, but I need to  actually work to know that this is the case.

I share riddles and jokes about language with them: “Icy” is my favorite word, do you know why? I see why! And when is a door not a door, when it’s ajar! I need to make this more of an event. I need to pull them in to find the delight with me.

But beyond jokes and riddles, there are special words in our language. Words that remind us of special people and places, words that exactly describe something the way we would’ve described it, words that create the perfect pictures in our heads. I need to be sure my students can delight in language!

Here is a quick idea for a word safari. I am sure I will have more ideas for this throughout the summer.


Word Safari

Next time I will talk about decoding.

Do you have any special words to share?


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