The power of books never ceases to amaze me. Anytime I come across a new one that resonates with me, I feel compelled to share – especially with the teaching community. Teachers have the ability to get books front and center with their students, increasing the impact that their messages will resonate with them, too! Author, Peter H. Reynolds, does an amazing job of combining stories with resounding messages that appeal to all ages of readers. Today I’m sharing one of his latest, The Word Collector, along with activities you can use with your students to enhance and extend the story.
The Word Collector is the precious story of Jerome, a boy who LOVES words. Jerome loves words so much that he literally collects them on yellow slips of paper. He pastes them into a scrapbook as he goes throughout his day. He loves words he hears and words he sees and words he reads; words he knows and words he doesn’t know; short words and long words; powerful words; words whose “sounds [are] perfectly suited to their meaning.”
My favorite part of the story is when he realizes that sharing his words is the best part of collecting them. In a touching metaphor for this, he takes his collection to the top of a hill and spills them into the wind. The children gather in the valley below and begin collecting his words for themselves. Jerome is the happiest. Reynolds ends the story with this:
Reach for your own words. Tell the world who you are and how you will make it better.
Oh, it’s just so good!!! Whether you check it out from your library or grab it on Amazon, The Word Collector is a must-read. Here are SEVEN ACTIVITIES to use with The Word Collector:
1 Teaching Theme
The Word Collector easily lends itself to teaching theme. I have several activities within this set that will help you do that!
2 One Little Word
As the new year begins, it’s a great time to use this read-aloud to have students reflect about their personal outlooks. Gather as a class to discuss the One Little Word movement. Share what your One Little Word for the school- or calendar-year is and how you will intentionally focus on that word and its meaning to you. Together, you can generate a list of words to choose from so that they, too, can have a focus word for the coming year. (You can download this printable for FREE at the end of this post!)
3 Jumbled Words
Give each student a book and ten slips of yellow paper. Students will page through the book, choosing interesting words. They will record their words (one per slip) and place them into an envelope. Students will exchange their words and create a poem just like Jerome did when his words became jumbled in the story. They can paste their words onto a sentence strip, creating a short poetic phrase or sentence. (This activity is ideal for students who are upwards of second grade and can confidently select interesting words.)
4 Powerful Words
Discuss the power of words, as mentioned in the story. Give each student a speech bubble and have them choose a powerful word or phrase to record on the speech bubble. Then, they’ll explain how or why that word or phrase is powerful.
5 Word Collection
Give each student a clipboard and piece of paper. Have them search your classroom, books, magazines, walls, school, etc. for words! Students will record words. As a whole group, students will explain to the class why they chose a specific word.
6 Class Word Book
Create a Word Book for your class. Next to it, place yellow slips of paper, pencils, dictionary-access, and a glue stick. As students come across interesting words they can add them to the book. At the end of the week, review all the new words added.
7 Comprehension Activities
This set includes some great comprehension questions to use for discussion, along with three differentiated assessments to use after you’ve read the book through a few times and worked on the skills.
And, if you enjoyed The Word Collector activities share here and you LOVE teaching vocabulary as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to see the activities mentioned in this post!
You can purchase a copy of The Word Collector by clicking below!
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