Word Quests

The language that children hear on a daily basis associated with their experiences forms the foundation for their listening, reading, speaking, reading, and writing vocabularies. The more that children are in contact and use new and different words the more that they will have to bring to all of their literary experiences. This section is a lot like the activities that we do in class with our Word Wall Words or before we read stories.


1. ABC Action-

What do the words run, skip, climb, eat, plant, fly, and sing have in common? They are action words, or verbs. Make a list of action words together, then ask the child to choose a word from the list to pantomime. Invite the child to illustrate the action by writing a word on a piece of paper, making the first letter perform the action. For example, a child may write the word sing in which the s is singing, or write the word run in which the r appears to be running.


2. Stickups-

This is a twist on the Making Words activity that we do in class and for homework. Select an interesting word from a favorite book or story, and collect magnetic letters to make that word. Use a safe working surface to display the letters, such as a magnetic board, a refrigerator door, the front of a washing machine, or a metal file cabinet. Then scramble the letters. Next invite the child to unscramble the letters to create the known word. You may want to provide clues to help the child guess the word. Try with other words.


3. Tic-Tac-Toe a Word

Make two tic-tac-toe boards, one for each player by drawing three rows of three squares on a piece of paper. The squares should be relatively large. Next the players should decide on nine words, perhaps theme-related or from our Word Wall Words, and write them in random order in the squares on each of the tic-tac-toe boards. The game is played as in regular tic-tac-toe, except that each player must say the word and use it in a sentence before it can be covered with sticky a note. The first player to cover three words in a row wins.


4. Shape Words-

This is the beginning of an activity that children do in the older grades to make a shape poem. This is the first grade version. Have the child choose vocabulary words that name objects, insects, or animals. Encourage creative thinking as the child writes so that the letters conform to the shape of the object. For example, the letters c-a-t-e-r-p-i-l-l-a-r may be written to take on the curved shape of the insect and turned into a caterpillar.


5. Category Challenge-

Have the child draw a grid on a piece of paper, six squares across and four squares down. Next choose four consonants and one vowel, and write them in boxes two through six across the top. Think of categories, and list them down the left side. Then invite the child to try to complete the game board within a designated time period (1-3minutes). The object is to come up with a word that begins with each letter in the top row and is part of the category listed.


6. Jingle Jangle-

Have the child write the first letter of his or her name. Then invite the child to write as many verbs, or action words, as he or she can think of that begin with the same letter. As a follow-up to the activity, see how many nouns- names of people, places, or things- the child can list.


7. Simple as a Simile-

Have the child read poems that use similes. Point out the similes, and explain that these phrases use the words as or like to compare two things. Next place several small objects in a bag. Let the child remove one object at a time from the bag and use a simile to describe or compare its size to another object. Use the following format to get the child thinking.

____________ is as big as ____________________

____________ is as strong as ________________

____________ is as wide as ___________________

____________ is as round as __________________