Take "IT" Strategies"

Word Talks


Word Talk Template Modified  for younger students or struggling learners


1.  Select a word (ideally from current text) for deeper analysis.  Create a sentence to establish context or use an authentic context.  Complete some advanced analysis of the word to prepare for questions that might arise and to insure that you've chosen a word with rich possibilities.

Selected words should not be brand new to students.  They should have some background about the word, but the word talk should extend their analysis and understanding.

Dictionary/Thesaurus.com  Use this site to research the etymology of word parts and to prepare some possible synonyms and antonyms.
MoreWords  Type in a word part to find other words that contain the target part.  Use this to prepare some possible related words.
The following instructional routine is important, so please plan to use all parts.
2.  Allow students about 3-5 minutes to record something about the target word on the word talk map.

3.  Allow students about 3-5 minutes to share ideas with a partner or table and add to their map.

4.  Debrief with students for about 10 minutes emphasizing word structure and meaning.  Create a web of ideas about the word as students share ideas. 

NOTE:  Dictionaries and online references can and should be used as questions arise.  However, don't begin the routine by passing out dictionaries.  Students should initially be using their background knowledge and collaboration to develop the word map.  Then use reference materials to further refine and clarify.
Read and List

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  • Students typically brainstorm words around a concept before or after reading a piece of text.

  • We modified this step by asking students to read poetry written by children in Freedom Schools during the Civil Rights movement and identify the MOST POWERFUL words used by these child authors.

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