Word Aware – Electronic resources



Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/wordaware/   Twitter:  @wordaware

Written by Anna Branagan and Stephen Parsons, Word Aware is an evidence-based approach to Teaching Vocabulary.  It is a ‘Universal’ intervention, designed for all pupils.  It is intended to be part of the life of the school, embedded rather than arbitrary.  Related text books include the  Language for Thinking series, which help teach increasingly complex questions.

During our school based training, Anna described how words are used for speaking, reading and understanding. Children have to be interested and engaged in word learning.  The spiral of being interested and enjoying reading is linked to the development of a wider vocabulary.  Enjoyment can be via a range of activities including crosswords, wordplay and other games. Our students are beginning an independent journey to developing language, based on engagement and enjoyment.

The approach for Word Aware is for the learning to be embedded in the school day, taking place regularly.  A STAR approach is used – Select, Teach, Activate and Review:

  • Select involves identifying appropriate vocabulary, considering whether the words are ‘anchor’ – thoroughly understood, ‘Goldilocks’ – desirable for students to use, or ‘Step-on’ – topic specific, not usually needed for writing.
  • Teach involves a range of elements to teach the vocabulary, including using the ‘Word Wizard’ (available from the book or CD-Rom).
  • Activate involves adding more meaning and making sense from the student’s own perspective, with lots of opportunities to hear and see the word.
  • Review is intended to help fix the word in long term memory.

Electronic resources

I’ve put together a few resources linked to some of the games and activities that I hope may be useful if you are using Word Aware.

Spin Game

Spin Game

Link to Smartnotebook version 16 file

Link to Smartnotebook version 14 file

The Spin Game is good fun and involves thinking about words starting with certain letters.  It can be played using a traditional whiteboard and magnetic spinners, or the Smartnotebook file I’ve put together.

Synonym match

synonymGood old fashioned ‘pairs’ game is used in this example game.  Here is a Smartnotebook pairs game.  The Smartnotebook can be edited, with the number of pairs of words changed, or the words themselves.

Link to Smartnotebook file

Circles of words

wordsA useful pre-writing exercise involving mindmapping keywords related to a topic.  The Smartnotebook file provided here is a template to scribble on.

Link to Smartnotebook file

Present words in interesting ways

There are many tools to facilitate presenting text in a variety of ways, including electronic tools.  Typograffit.com is a useful website that allows text to be presented in an interesting way.    The website below is also a useful way of displaying text: http://www.redkid.net/generator/sign.php

Tools to help with definitions

www.lingro.com – enter a URL and get lots of definitions

www.snappywords.com – visual dictionary



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