Fostering a love of reading is also really important, so I really encourage the students to read just for the love of it. I consider it my job, if they're interested in adventure stories, to introduce them to new texts that have adventures in them. I also like them to read other things, but since they're reading for fun and they really like to do that I'm okay with them reading adventure stories. Some of the students, I really like when they start to read texts and they get locked into a series. So they might start with the first Narnia story and then read all the way through. Or the Harry Potter and read all the way through. It doesn't necessarily have to be a high level novel, there are other novels that are done that are at a lower level, as long as they're enthusiastic about reading, and it's close to their level of reading I'm pretty happy that they're going ahead and reading those texts.
I also like to keep track of students' reading, so that I have an idea of how much they're reading and if they're not reading so much, try to engage them into reading something else. Another activity that I like to do that links into their personal reading is vocabulary cards, and we know that vocabulary is really important because when they come across words that they don't know, they start to lose their comprehension, and that's so important to reading. One of the strategies that I like to use is asking the student to read something for pleasure and come up with two words that they don't know, that they're not familiar with and they make a card, and ultimately we're going to play a game with their cards. They come up with two words they don't know, they think about the words they don't know and how to illustrate them, so that somebody might be able to guess the word. So they have a partner, the partner tries to guess the word.
They also look the word up in the dictionary, they find out what part of speech the word is, because that can be a hint too. Their partner tries to guess the word, they may not get it. Now the student gives them the context, so the context is the sentence from the text that they've been reading. Maybe the person doesn't get it again, then the student gives synonyms of that word, and they give their partner another chance to guess the word. And finally they give them the dictionary definition and hopefully the person guesses the word. If they don't now they probably have a pretty good handle on what the word actually means, they even have a visual representation of it. For this card the student has chosen the word embankment, so they've depicted the idea of embankment, down the side of the road, and they've put the hints on the other side, so they can work through the hints and get their partner to guess the best they can and get the word embankment.
The goal of New Words Game: Expanding Vocabulary (Virtual Tour) is to provide opportunities for exposure to and use of a variety of new and interesting words.
- Students select two unfamiliar and interesting words from their own reading. After becoming "expert" or "master" of these words students design a card which provides a series of clues so that a partner (who does not know the secret words) can guess the words.
- Provide students with one large (5 x 8) white cue card per word. Have students draw on the blank side and write the clues on the reverse side (part of speech, context, synonyms, and dictionary definition). Check the students' cards for accuracy before beginning the game.