Sunday, May 21, 2017

Writing Strategies Goal 7: Word Choice

Welcome to our book study of The Writing Strategies Book:  Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo! I am joining forces with some other fabulous teacher bloggers to discuss the writing strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!    

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 10 goals that are represented in the text.  Each goal area is filled with many valuable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better writers.  Keep in mind, we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section.  There are over 300 strategies in the whole book!

You can find my posts for previous sections below:

This goal is all about Word Choice.  Serravallo says that the words we choose as writers "have the power to communicate tone, clarify an intended meaning (or not), and give writing voice".  If students don't carefully consider their choice of words, they can end up with writing that is vague or flat.

She also says that some writers don't need to give deliberate attention to word choice.  These students write with voice and clarity already.  For others, strategies in this section will help elevate their writing and style.

When choosing this as a goal for your students to work on, you may want to consider students who:

* write pieces that are organized and detailed, but could use work communicating their meaning by being more specific or precise.

* could use help varying the words they use in their writing.

Focus Strategy 1: Onomatopoeia: Sound Effects

My students LOVE this strategy - quite possible because the word onomatopoeia sounds so funny, but, I will take any reason for engagement and excitement about writing!  

You ask the student to imagine themselves inside their story.  What do they hear? How would they write that word?

You could introduce this strategy with the video below:

You might also want to provide students with an anchor chart like the one below as well.

Focus Strategy 2: Write With Authority: Domain Specific Vocabulary

This strategy asks students to keep a list if words authors use about the topics they are researching.  They could then use the list to help them use domain specific vocabulary in their writing.  

You might start the lesson with an anchor chart like this one from the book.

Focus Strategy 3: Precise Nouns

In this strategy, students return to their drafts, underlining all of the nouns.  They should look back at these nouns and ask themselves, "Can I get any more specific?"  Instead of just saying the boy, could they mention them by name?

I might introduce this strategy with one of our current read alouds, such as Wonder.

I would have the students see if they can find the different nouns in a page, and see where the author was REALLY specific.  In this page they might notice that the costumes were specifically Egyptian costumes and Indiana Jones-type archaeologists. I would ask them, " How do these specific nouns help the readers make a better picture in their mind?"

If you would like to purchase the book mentioned above, you can find it here.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love.  

If you would like to link up your own blog posts about this book, feel free to do so in the linky below!  Don't forget to check out the other bloggers' posts as well as they write them for even more ideas!

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