Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary development’

The Very Inappropriate Word – Synonym Picture Book Fun

Posted on July 11th, 2014 by Jody

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Storytime Standouts suggests The Very Inappropriate Word written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave Coverly The Very Inappropriate Word written by Jim Tobin and illustrated by Dave Coverly
Picture book about synonyms published by Henry Holt and Co.

In this all ages picture book, we learn about synonyms, how to expand our vocabulary, and the power that words have. The first line drew me in immediately: “Michael collected words”. I love words and we all have words we hate and love for whatever reason. The way it sounds on our tongue, for what it means, for what it rhymes with, etc. Words are fun and I think it is a great concept to introduce kids to the idea that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing.

Michael pays close attention to all the words that come at him every day– at school, at home, on television, and at baseball. The illustrations of the words that pop up in Michael’s day are entertaining in their presentation. For example, Michael likes “hard words for soft things” and the word “elastic” is stretched as though inside of an elastic instead of a speech bubble. My students and my own children enjoyed looking over the pictures repeatedly.

Michael likes to use the words he finds but when he hears a bad word on the school bus, his friends tell him that is not an appropriate word. The more he is told not to use the word, the deeper his desire to use it, until he finally yells it out at the top of his lungs. In class. Michael’s teacher asks him to stay after school and he is sure that he is in trouble.The Very Inappropriate Word

What happens next is unique and I truly enjoyed the lesson that the teacher wanted to impart in the book. Instead of detention or a long lecture, she asks him to find new spelling words. In essence, she lets him see how many words exist that are powerful and fun, while also being appropriate. She gives him a responsibility to help her and that trust, along with the wonderful task of exploring new words, diminishes the power of the inappropriate word.

Sometimes our actions are strengthened by the reactions of others. Michael’s teacher didn’t give him the reaction he expected. Instead, she showed him a different path and let him find his way. What we say is important but so is how we say it. I like that this book shows kids there are other ways, other words, to communicate what they are trying to say.

On another note, there are a number of fun activities that you can do with this book. In my classroom, I used the example on the first page where we see a picture of Michael, surrounded by “M” words. The students drew a self-portrait and tried to find as many descriptive words about themselves that started with the first letter of their name as they could. Not an easy task but upper intermediates will enjoy the challenge while they learn some dictionary and thesaurus skills. A second activity I tried was to give a word and see who could come up with the most synonyms. So, if I put “happy” on the board, they all had thirty seconds to write down as many words as they could that meant the same thing. This is a great way to do a quick check of their vocabulary understanding. Even if you just use the book as a fun read, the students will get lots out of it.

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.com

The Very Inappropriate Word at Amazon.ca

Using the Shopping List Game with a Speech Delayed Child

Posted on April 30th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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Using the Shopping List Game with a Speech Delayed Child

You may have read some of my previous posts about working with speech delayed children. I visit the family three times each week and I work with a four year old boy and his five year old sister. Today, I will focus on my work with the boy. I use a variety of techniques to elicit speech and expand his vocabulary. Without a doubt, one of his favorite activities is the Shopping List Game. The box includes four shopping lists, four shopping carts and thirty two items you might pick up at a grocery store. Fresh fruit (three red strawberries, two green apples), vegetables (three orange carrots), chicken, bacon, fish, bread, pizza, dairy products (milk and cheese) are included along with bubble bath, laundry soap and toilet paper. In short, for someone who wants to introduce new vocabulary and encourage discussion, this offers a treasure trove of material.

Using the Shopping List Game with a Speech Delayed Child

When we first used the game, we used it as a memory game and we alternated turns, trying to find everything on our lists. The activity has evolved and now my young student lays out all four carts and shopping lists in front of him. He picks up a food item and determines which list it is on and which cart it belongs in. As he does this, we talk about each card and the illustration on it: “Three red strawberries, six fresh eggs, one loaf of bread, etc.

With the guidance of an adult, a relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated game offers up great learning opportunities for a speech delayed child – or any child.

Note: My copy of the game was produced by Orchard Toys. Some of the items are labelled using terms that are more common in the United Kingdom than in North America. For example, washing powder as opposed to laundry detergent. This is not an isse from my perspective because I am using the activity to encourage verbal interaction (as opposed to reading).

Shopping List Memory Game at Amazon.com

Shopping List Booster Pack – Fruit & Veg at Amazon.com

Shopping List Booster Pack – Clothes at Amazon.com

Shopping List Memory Game at Amazon.ca

Walter Wick Shares a Bounty of Riches for Treasure Seekers

Posted on November 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks a puzzle book by Walter Wick, Can You See What I See? Treasure Ship Can You See What I See? Treasure Ship created by Walter Wick
Picture Puzzle Book published by Scholastic





Picture puzzles can be entertaining, intriguing and sometimes frustrating. As well, for our children, they represent a marvelous opportunity for cognitive development – especially when enjoyed with a chatty adult.

Apart from noticing very small details, the adult-child discussion that will accompany a book like Can You See What I See? Treasure Ship is not-to-be missed. image of a spread from Can You See What I See Treasure ShipAuthor/illustrator Walter Wick challenges his young readers to discover all sorts of wonderful words that they aren’t likely to encounter unless an adult is part of the experience.

So, come aboard, explore the bounty of intriguing illustrations and share these vocabulary treasures with your child: saber, peacock, hourglass, tattered, bugle and more.

Can You See What I See? Treasure Ship at Amazon.com

Can You See What I See? Treasure Ship at Amazon.ca

Extend your child’s learning with these free pirate theme printables -

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pirate

Pirate theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pirate Map

Pirate theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Storytime Standouts looks at Tools by Taro Miura

Posted on September 12th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Looking at a concept book about tools and the people who use them by Taro Miura

Storytime Standouts looks at Tools by Taro MiuraTools by Taro Miura
Concept picture book published by Chronicle Books



At first peek this appears to be a book for very young children. It features bold illustrations and large text. I have shared it with a number of grade one and two children and found it very engaging. Showing us all sorts of equipment used by carpenters, tailors, mechanics, doctors, chef, gardener, etc. We first examine the implements and then are shown who might use them. This guess who format together with the extensive array of fascinating items makes the book entirely appropriate for early primary and a great resource for vocabulary building.

Tools at Amazon.com

Tools at Amazon.ca


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