This lesson is written for 5th grade reading and writing standards for Washington State; as well as 5th grade Commom Core State Standards in English Language Arts.
This lesson, relying primarily on direct vocabulary instruction, helps to improve literacy in Tier Two words by expanding student vocabulary using resources such as thesauruses to find synonyms for common words. The lesson is intended to be used at the beginning of an “enhancing vocabulary” unit. The lesson can be considered a formal introduction the thesaurus. According to Cooper, Kiger, Robinson, and Slansky (2012), effective vocabulary instruction involves awareness of words, noting words in journals, reading aloud to students, discussion groups, and writing – all of which are utilized in this lesson. Students rewrite a common nursery rhyme or simple children's book using more advanced vocabulary. Students have an opportunity to choose the piece of writing they wish to use, allowing for student voice. Students have the opportunity to read their rewritten work to group members; allowing group members to use indirect vocabulary strategies to identify the original work. Students have an opportunity to have their work “published” and made available to classmates. This gives students a sense of ownership in classroom learning and allows students to build self confidence in their own writing. Building on vocabulary skills is directly related to literacy skills valuable in the real world. The lesson covers material identified as standards at both the state and national level.