From word to word
Ask students to work individually with one dictionary each. Write a word on the blackboard (one which will produce a rich set of synonyms). Ask the students to look up the word in the dictionary and to read through the definition. Then ask them to choose one of the words in the definition and to look that word up. Ask the students to continue in this way until they have looked up about a dozen words. At each stage they should write down the word they look up. Finally ask the students to link the words in their list into a paragraph or short story.
Starting from the word plant, one student in my class produced this list:
Plant – vegetable – organism – structure – frameworks – skeleton – bone – bobbin – reel – cylinder – tubular – chamber
This game gives practice in the reading skills of skimming and scanning a text at speed. Each learner needs a dictionary. The learners are given a word, and starting together, they must search through their dictionaries for another word containing the same number of letters. They must be able to argue a connection between the meaning of that word and the starting word. For example, sausage and leather – they both come from animals.
Ask students to open their dictionaries at random and to write down any three words from the two pages that are visible. They then write a short passage or story containing those three words in alphabetical order. One student reads his/her story to the others, who must try to decide which pages had been opened.
Juan José Varela Tembra