I work with several kids to build their oral language skills that then relate to their writing skills. Research shows that oral vocabulary is linked to a child’s reading ability and certainly impacts their writing skills also. As kids progress through elementary school they are expected to use more elaborate words, describing emotions, senses, situations and problems.
Yesterday I had fun making a thesaurus with a fourth grader. Chole is enjoying revising her writing to include more intricate vocabulary, conjunctions like because and so, and descriptive words. She has enjoyed revising her work by taking a “younger” word like “big”, looking it up online in a thesaurus, www.thesaurus.com, and finding a new gem to use like “gigantic” or “enormous.” Together we decided to make her own thesaurus to use when she is stuck, looking for a new word in her writing.
I bought her a fun journal and got sticky ABC tabs to attach every few pages. She was off, entering her words and synonyms to be used as reference. She immediately entered “small” and came up with tiny, miniature, petite and minute. She felt ownership as she looked up the words that were meaningful to her and entered them into her new thesaurus.
If you don’t have time to make your own, check out your local bookstore for an age-appropriate thesaurus. Scholastic makes a series of student help guides including a thesaurus. Check the ages so it will fit your child.