Reading Response: A Focus on Vocabulary

Want to help your children or students build their vocabulary? Try this exercise.

Prepare to Read

First, either instruct your children or students to read for a set amount of time. When I was a classroom teacher my standard “student choice” reading homework assignment was to read for 10 minutes, 3-5 nights a week.

You might do the same with your children or students, or you might read aloud for a set time period or length of pages. Be sure, if you are a parent, your child is sitting beside you so he or she can see the text as your read. If you are a teacher, be sure you are reading from a text that all the students can have a copy of, so they can follow along.

Print the following statements onto a note card, project them on your Smartboard, or write them on your whiteboard:

  • A word I did not know or was not certain of the meaning of was…
  • I found it in this sentence…
  • I think it means…
  • I looked it up in the dictionary and it means…

As you or they read, tell your students to be on the lookout for a word for the exercise.

Read

Instruct your child or student to begin reading, or you begin reading. It is best if you do this in a quiet room without a lot of distractions. Tell him or her to write down the word and page number when they spot it and then continue reading for the allotted time.

Respond

When done, instruct your students or child go back to the page they noted and copy down the sentence in which he or she found the word. Instruct them to fill in the remaining statements or, if your group is small enough, discuss the remaining statements together.

Closure

Challenge your students or child to look for ways to use their new word for the next few days.

Your Turn

How do you like to help your children or students to expand their vocabulary?

Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God by Sybil McBeth

402700I loved this book! I read it in one sitting, just gobbled it up.

In Praying in Color, McBeth discusses how she is often eager and willing to pray for others, but then finds that her prayer time turns into something more like a series of prayer snippets as her short attention span–and don’t we all have one of those nowadays!–keeps pulling her off topic.

The outcome of her seeking a way to deal with this challenge is the book, Praying in Color. Basically, McBeth advocates for doodling your prayers. She also emphasizes this has nothing to do with being a skilled artist. These doodled prayers are not intended to be works of art but rather an outpouring of our good wishes for the person or object of our prayer. Once complete, they also serve as visual reminders to continue praying in the days and weeks that follow.

In Praying in Color, McBeth suggests you allow yourself about a half an hour to sit down with paper, pens, and colored pencils or markers. Write the name of the person or object of your prayers and draw a shape around it. Then as you continue to pray, embellish the shape in whatever manner your thoughts lead you. By utilizing this process, she has found that what once were a minute or two or three brief moments of prayer have been transformed to 30 minutes of dedicated praying.

Furthermore, she shares how this technique can also be used for meditating on scripture (another tough job for those of us blessed with butterfly brains), weighing and discerning complex issues in our lives, and memorization of texts (Something that, as a visual learner, I find challenging. I’m excited to try doodling something I want to memorize soon. In addition, as a Language Arts teacher, I can see great uses for this as another format for responding to reading.

I prayed for a friend of mine who is battling cancer while I listened to this morning’s teaching in church. I just used a pen and an unlined 3/5 card. (I am going to add some color with my colored pencils–because I want to give her the card and the book–she is an artist). I found this did not distract me from the message, and yet, through my pen, I was able to weave a net of healing about her.

Praying in Color is an awesome little book, and I highly recommend it.

A Quick Comprehension Check: Reading Response Exercise #106

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect & Write

Think about what you have read, and answer the following questions:

  • What happened in today’s reading?
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • Based on what you have read so far, would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?

Discuss

Share your responses with your reading partners, or share your response as a comment here on the blog. Remember to mention the title and author of your novel. That way, readers intrigued by your response can check out the book for themselves.

Happy Reading!

Reading Response Exercise #105: What Do You Think?

 

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect

Think about what you have read.

  • What was interesting in this reading?
  • What might have been boring?
  • What do you wish the author might have included before moving on in the story?
  • Explain why you feel the way you do.

Write/Discuss

Share your responses with your reading partners, or share your response as a comment here on the blog. If commenting here, please mention the title and author of your novel. That way, readers intrigued by your response can check out the book for themselves.

Happy Reading!

Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble: Characterization Reading Response Exercise #104

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect

Choose a character from the passages you have read and job down a few words that you would use to describe him or her. Consider some of the weaknesses of his or her personality.

Write/Discuss

Predict  how you think this character could end up getting him or herself into trouble.  Include your reasons for  thinking this.. Write your ideas down or discuss with your reading partners

Share your response as a comment here on the blog, and mention the title and author of your novel. That way, readers intrigued by your response can check out the book for themselves.

Happy Reading!

Onomatopoeia and Ssssounds: Reading Response Exercise #103

The format of this reading response exercise is a little different from our usual set up because to do this one, you need to read the instructions first.

Instructions

Authors use sensory details to help readers understand and experience (vicariously) the setting of a story. Words like roaring or ringing help the reader imagine themselves into the point of view character’s experience. Other sound words include onomatopoeia, specialized words that sound like the sound they describe. Examples include: plop, splat, and thunk.

Read

To complete this reading response exercise, get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Sit down and read for at least twenty to thirty minutes. Each time you come across a sound word in your reading, list it along with its page number.

Reflect

When done reading, choose three sound words from your list. Go back to the page where you found each of them and reread the paragraph in which each was included. For each sound word, consider how the author’s choice of that particular word influenced your perception and experience of the story.

Write/Discuss

Share your responses with your reading partners, or here as a comment on the blog.

Preschool Literacy

Read

Find a picture book that includes lots of sound words. Read it with your preschooler, asking your child to stop you and repeat the sound word each time he or she hears one. (Help her if the task proves too daunting to do on her own.)

Discuss

When you have finished reading, ask your preschooler which sound word was his favorite. Ask why.

Write the word (and write it big) on a piece of paper then give it to your preschooler to decorate. (Media options can include: crayons, marking pens, stickers, pictures torn out of magazines and glued on… or anything else you can dream up to play with!)

Post your preschooler’s finished project where it can be enjoyed by family and friends.

Comprehension Clues: Reading Response Exercise #101

Read

Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Reflect

Think about what you have read. Check your comprehension level by imagining what you think will happen next?

List three clues that support your hypothesis.

Write/Discuss

Share your responses with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy

Read

Enjoy the first two-thirds of a picture book with your preschooler.

Ask

Stop and ask him what he thinks will happen next.

Discuss

Listen to your preschooler’s response. Ask her what makes her think what she that this will happen?

Read the rest of the book and discuss how it ends vs. what your preschooler had predicted.