“I collect words–they are sweets in the mouth of sound.” Sally GardnerThe quality of the words of a child’s writing can never exceed the quality of the words they use. When teaching vocabulary, there are a few things I think work above all else. Teach vocabulary in context. It should flow from great books and copious reading and into writing. Word-of-the-Day type approaches don’t cut it for me – it’s scratching the surface of vocabulary instruction. Every day is a vocabulary day. Every lesson is a vocabulary lesson. Words form the beating heart of every lesson I teach. Model only the highest vocabulary. The quality of words that children use in their writing is limited by the quality of the words that the teacher models. [fig.1] shows a sentence I modelled to Year 4 children very recently – notice powdery, cotton-white, constellation, countless, crystalline, cloak of heaven. And provide children with high-quality word banks to draw upon when writing. To that end, I created my Buzz Word word banks – sets of vocabulary for children to use when writing. There are plenty of word banks out there that do something similar. I hope these contain higher quality words than most. So, I plan to upload all of the Buzz Word lists, starting here with my word banks that describe places. Simply click on a word bank to open a downloadable PDF. If you’d like to see a setting that I have not included, then leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I shall try to add it for you. Enjoy.
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