Word Choices

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Words. Words. Words. There are so many word choices. Quite frankly, often, to a “new writer” this can be overwhelming. Students do not often understand that word choice counts! As parents, how can you make this easier for your students? It is actually quite simple.

Way back…. Way, way back…. before my daughter was born, I was a public-school teacher. First, I taught in a self-contained classroom and then, I was a reading specialist in an elementary school. Because I had the space in my classroom, I had something I called WORD WALLS. Please understand, today, this is a very popular concept; however, back in the early day of “whole language” in the early 1990s, this was not as popular.

Word walls had words all over it. Charts and charts of words. Words that described all kinds of things. Adjectives. Adverbs. Alternative words. Color words. Math words. Science words. History words. You name it – it was on the walls. Brightly colored charts with words. I wish I still had pictures of these word walls. They were FABULOUS. My students had these words “in their face” whenever we wrote. They could go up to the charts and search through them. It gave them the immediate access to a multitude of words they needed.

With homeschooling, this concept of “Word Walls” can take over you house; however, there is a very simple way to do this without unlimited wall space. Get a three-ring notebook (binder) that has a plastic sleeve insert for the front cover. Have your student design a cover allowing them to take ownership of their Word Notebook… and then, begin filling it with wonderful word lists. Start simple!

For example, one morning sit ALL your children down – no matter the age. Have one of the oldest kids OR you can do this – create a list using all the ideas your children have. Example and please feel free to use this script:

Today, we are going to create a list of amazing adjectives.  
What is an adjective?
Let’s take the noun house and together brainstorm a list of adjectives for this noun.

And that is it. Together, create a long list of this word. Type it up. Print it out for ALL of your children. The next day – allow them to embellish this list with pictures etc. After they design their lists, everyone places it into their Word Notebook.

Each day this process can take less than 15 minutes! This is a great way to begin the day…. As you are wrapping up breakfast have a quick morning meeting to do this before everyone disperses into their own independent learning.

Doing two lists a week will provide your students will a fabulous notebook of words in absolutely no time. When your student writes for any subject, make sure they have their WORD NOTEBOOK out and opened up to help them use fabulous word choices in their writing.

Here are some great lists to help you get started:

  • Adjectives
  • LY Adverbs
  • Strong Verbs
  • Alternatives to the words: Said, Big, Small, Pretty, Ugly, Run, Awesome
  • Words to describe People
  • Words to describe Personalities
  • Math Words
  • Science Words
  • History Words

If you do this regularly – over time – and remind your child to grab their WORD NOTEBOOK when they are writing….. their written vocabulary will increase tremendously.

Remember: Be creative. Be impulsive. Engage as a family. Older children will teach younger children new vocabulary. Have fun!

And most importantly, there is no right or wrong.

EvaEva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.

Eva is offering the following courses for the 2019-2020 year:

Adulting 101 – Spring 2020
All About Essays – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
An Author Study: Examining the Work of Katherine Paterson – Winter 2020
Beyond Worksheets: Grammar, Punctuation, Editing – Oh My! – Spring 2020
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session One) – Fall 2019
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session Three) – Spring 2020
Exploring American History with American Girls (Session Two) – Winter 2020
Hidden Figures: The Women who Changed NASA Forever – Spring 2020
I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World – Winter 2020
Introduction to IEW Writing – A Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Junior Historian: The Civil Rights Movement – Fall 2019
Middle School Writing – A Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Middle School Writing – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Outliers: The Story of Success – Fall 2019
Perspectives: Combining IEW Writing with Classic Short Stories (Session 1) – Fall 2019
Perspectives: Combining IEW Writing with Classic Short Stories (Session 2) – Winter 2020
Powerful Paragraph – B Week – Full Year – 2019 – 2020
Profiles from History (Session 1) Stories of Those Who are Worthy of Remembrance – Fall 2019
Profiles from History (Session 2) Heroes of America’s Growth and Freedom – Winter 2020
Profiles from History (Session 3) Leaders who Changed Worlds Both Large and Small – Spring 2020
Starting at the Very Beginning: A Jump Start to IEW Writing – Spring 2019
Starting at the Very Beginning: A Jump Start to IEW Writing – Spring 2020
Strong Males: Coming of Age – Winter 2020
Strong Males: Two Newbury Honor Novels – Fall 2019
Ten Days to Research Writing – Spring 2020
Ten Terrific Ted Talks! Don’t say that ten times fast! – Winter 2020
To Hope and Back The Journey of the SS St. Louis Combining Literature with History – Fall 2019

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