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Michael F. Graves’s Book The Vocabulary Book: Learning & Instruction asserts that increasing a child’s vocabulary makes him/her a stronger writer (43).  He states:

The goal is to get students to realize that the words they use in their writing are very important, that the words they use will affect both clarity of what they write and the reaction their writing receives from others, and that therefore they should therefore choose and use words wisely, honing their word choices as one of the last steps in editing their writing (Ibid.)

I’ve been digging deeply into Graves’s Book and have come across a strategy, Sensory Webbing (122), that I’m going to try out with my students when I do the vocabulary lessons from Shutting out the Sky next week.  This strategy, which was adapted from Scott and her colleagues (1996) encourages students to understand words more fully by filling in what the word looks like, feels like, sounds like, tastes like, and smells like.  Here’s an example of the sensory web I constructed for the word restriction, which is one of next week’s words:

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

3 thoughts on “Vocabulary Leave a comment

  1. I agree that deeper exploration of vocabulary is very important; it can help prevent so many misconceptions down the road! I find that much of this kind of mapping can be done cooperatively. It works well and allows kids to test associations out as they go. I love Bringing Words to Life:Robust Vocabulary Instruction by Beck, McKeown, and Kucan for vocabulary instruction, too.


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