Word Consciousness the interest in and awareness of words.
Use words skillfully Appreciate word meaning subtleties Are curious about language Like to play with words Enjoy investigating word origins Students who have developed word consciousness:
Teachers can foster word consciousness each and every day by building a classroom that is “rich with words.” dictionaries thesauri poetry books word play joke books word walls Scrabble word games literature crossword puzzles
Adept diction Word play Word histories and origins Teachers can also foster word consciousness through the use of:
Adept Diction = Word Choice = Expressive Power Adept Diction the skillful use of words in speech and writing. Should be found: In teacher’s language usage In reading texts In student’s speech and writing Beyond the classroom
Categorizing language contributes to adept diction. Synonyms: Words that are very close to the same meaning. Antonyms: Words that are opposite or nearly opposite in meaning. Homographs: Words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and origins.
The ability to deal with figures of speech is a part of word consciousness. “Figurative language uses figures of speech that enable speakers and writers to express ideas in fresh, new ways.”
The most common figures of speech are: Metaphors: A comparison of two unlike things without using the word like or as. (i.e. My friend is a walking encyclopedia.) Similes: A comparison of two unlike things using the word like or as. (i.e. as easy as pie) and…
Idioms: An expression that cannot be understood by the meanings of the individual words within it. (i.e. to be in a pickle) Bite the dust.
Word Play A playful attitude toward words and language accomplished through manipulating sounds, meanings, spellings and other word aspects. Stimulates interest in and curiosity about language Improves reading and vocabulary Reveals language structure Fosters independent learning Engages students in active, social learning Builds on language curiosity Motivates students to build on language skills
W O R D G A M E S hink pinks puns angry father – mad dad time flies like a bird; fruit flies like melon. Tom Swifties riddles How can you make a baby buggy? (tickle his toes) “Let’s hurry,” said Tom swiftly. tongue twisters She sells seashells by the seashore. Types of word play W O R D F O R M A T I O N S acronyms ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) portmanteaus motel (motel + hotel) E X P R E S S I O N S proverbs out of sight, out of mind slang junk food N A M E S eponyms (after a person) watt (after James Watt) toponyms (after a place) sardines (after the island of Sardinia) W O R D M A N I P U L A T I O N S anagrams (formed by rearranging the letters of another word) read – dear palindromes (read the same forward and backward) mom, radar, racecar
New words are coined to represent new ideas or objects. Old words can be applied to new situations. Many words that were common in past years now have different meanings or have become obsolete. Word Histories Each word has a story behind it which tells why the word has come to mean what it does.
Word Origins Greek Specialized words used mostly in science and technology Latin Longer, more sophisticated words used in formal contexts, such as content-area texts and literature. Anglo-Saxon Short, everyday words used frequently in ordinary conversation and beginning reading texts. Students who are word conscious are aware of the words around them – those they read and hear and those they write and speak. – Graves & Watts-Taffe, 2002
Word consciousness forms the basis for a continuing love of words and language.
Word play helps students become more aware of the structure and rules of language. It also creates animated and motivated learners.
Lesson Models for Word Consciousness • Animal Idioms • Benchmarks • ability to interpret literal and figurative idioms • ability to research origins of idioms See pages 580-583 • Antonym Scales • Benchmark • ability to identify complementary and gradable antonym pairs. • ability to scale antonyms See pages 588-591 • Latin & Greek Number Words • Benchmark • ability to understand Latin and Greek number prefixes See pages 584-587
Lesson Models for Word Consciousness • Poetry as Word Play • Benchmark • ability to use adept diction in writing • ability to use synonyms and antonyms • ability to write cinquain and diamante poems See pages 598-600 • Web Word Web • Benchmarks • ability to use modern homographs • ability to understand that word meanings change and evolve over time. See pages 592-594 • Five-Senses Simile Web • Benchmark • ability to use adept diction • ability to write similes See pages 595-597
Lesson Models for Word Consciousness • Vocabulary Hot-Shot Notebook • Benchmarks • ability to keep track of target vocabulary words • ability to extend word use beyond the classroom See pages 601-606
Word consciousness is crucial to learners’ success in expanding the breadth and depth of students’ word knowledge over the course of their lifetimes. ~Graves and Watts-Taffe, 2002