The Power of Words
James Earl Jones once said, “one of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” I think we’ve all had the experience of listening to a conversation that we would love to join, but just haven’t got the vocabulary to say what we want to say. As a teacher, this is something that I always try to help with – and I’ve found something that works!
Word recognition activities are a really useful way to widen your vocabulary. Not only that, but they can be extended to recognise phrases and understand the connections between words. These exercises were originally intended to assist students with their reading fluency and comprehension. However, I also find them helpful when I want to develop understanding of the meaning and use of words.
Paul Nation, Professor of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, recommends vocabulary recognition to encourage accuracy of language. He, and others, have inspired me to think more about how I can help my students to progress their reading, writing and speaking skills. So, taking Grabe & Stoller (2011) Teaching and Researching Reading, 2nd edition, as a framework, I’ve put together my own word recognition exercises.
To extend the word recognition and semantic connection activities, you can take one word a day and look up any different meanings or synonyms connected with that word. Then, try to use that word in your next conversation.
Try them out and see what you think. I’d love to hear how you get on with them, so email me to let me know!