1. To increase their listening skills and letter recognition, first graders can be read the story one phrase or sentence at a time and asked, “Which sound do you hear at the beginning of each word?” or ”Which letter am I alliterating?” They love this game and it’s fun because there is a story being told.
2. Since this story is full of descriptive words, teachers can copy a page from the book and have students highlight vivid verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. An easier worksheet can also be made by asking the students to pick out the subject and predicate or noun, verb, and adjective. A sample page is included.
3. A personal dictionary of strong or unusual words can be made by making a mini word wall. Divide a piece of paper into 24 boxes, one for each letter. Y and z share a box and so do w and x since these are difficult letters to find at the beginning of a word. As they read the story and come across a new word, it is written in a box. Students can keep the mini word wall in their writing folder and refer to it when doing a writing assignment.
4. Make a thinking thesaurus poster for the class. At the top put the most common verbs students need to use less often, such as; saw, went, ran, and said. After you read the book to the children, have them list vivid verbs used in the book in place of the common ones. Another poster can be made for common adjectives like good, pretty, happy. Have children fill in more descriptive adjectives. Leave the posters up for future reference in writing assignments.
5. Using new words in the classroom will help increase a child’s vocabulary. The teacher may take certain phrases that they like and use them in everyday language.
At lunch the teacher can say, “Have you finished your fabulous feast?” or “Settle in your seats, savor the scrumptious sweets and swallow every scrap in sight!” Challenge the students to make up phrases for other times of the school day, such as recess, end of the day, music, art, physical education, library, as well as special days. Recognize a student(s) by putting the phrases on a poster. Display poster in the room or hallway where others can see it.
6. The teacher can read the story or a page of the story without the adjectives and adverbs and use plain verbs. Then reread it replacing all adjectives, adverbs, and vivid verbs to show how these words clarify the mental picture that comes to mind. Then give the class a simple sentence such as; The dog went down the street. Ask them each to add adjectives, adverbs, and a more vivid verb. Let each student read his sentence aloud, noting how each student painted an entirely different picture.
7. The students can begin alliterating themselves and improve their writing skills. Just give them a noun, and see if they can think of an adjective beginning with the same letter that will modify it. If they can’t think of any, tell them to use a children’s dictionary and read through all the words beginning with the letter they need. Then ask them to find a verb that also begins with the same letter, and so on till the class makes a whole sentence. Maybe they will even be able to create a short story! Have them try this same exercise on an individual basis and share their sentences with the class.
8. Fourth and fifth graders can write an alphabet book for Kindergarten and First Grade using alliteration. Each student in the class would be assigned one letter to write one or two sentences with that letter and illustrate their sentences. They can then read their section to a Kindergarten class or First Grade.
Dorie Thurston and Patty Arey