This week we are going to be taking a closer look at synonyms and how they are used to give more depth and richness to writing. Let’s get started!
In this post:
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Read Chapters 34-40 whilst working through the exercises.
This week, its best best to read the chapters independently from the exercises as we will really be spending some time on synonyms. Just for you to note, the copywork exercise is taken from Chapter 34, and there is a comprehension exercise based on Chapter 35, so it is probably best to do the comprehension questions immediately after reading chapter 35.
It would be a good idea to continue the practice of summarising, verbally or written, at least once or twice. The more kids practice summarising the more accurate and concise they will get.
Read the extract and related analysis on using synonyms to increase meaning and interest.
“Digdown the old groundhog, popped up to munch on berries. Broadfoot, the giant bull moose, came by to chew on tree shoots.” Chapter 34 page 98
I selected this extract to focus on synonyms. Synonyms are two words which are different but very similar in meaning.
Examples of synonyms are big and enormous, or quick and fast, or sleepy and tired.
Read the full part from the book (Chapter 34, page 98), then ask your children what animals are described as feasting in Roz’s garden, and how they eat? Have them think about how the choice of words to describe how they eat impacts our understanding of the scene.
In the extract selected, notice how Brown uses two different words, “munch” and “chew” which give the meaning of eating. Because they have similar meanings, they are synonyms of each other.
Brown also describes other characters eating from Roz’s garden:
Tawny and Crownpoint and their fawns, happily nibble on the garden.
The beavers gnaw on a shrub.
By using synonyms of eat, Brown makes his writing more interesting to read. It would be really boring if he just described each animal as just eating:
The deer came by to eat from the garden. The beavers came by to eat shrub. Digdown came by to eat the berries. Broadfoot came by to eat the tree shoots.
The different synonyms also give us an image of how each animal ate.
“Nibble” suggests a small, delicate, and careful way of eating. This gives the deer family a sense of gentleness.
“Gnaw” implies a more vigorous and persistent type of eating where you chew and bite with the teeth. This word choice emphasises the beavers’ characteristic behaviour of using their sharp teeth to chew on wood.
Not only do these synonyms enrich the text, but they also help us form vivid mental images of how each animal eats.
I could not believe it when I came across this poem which perfectly demonstrates the effectiveness of synonyms on making a piece of writing engaging. It such a fun poem, I’m sure all children will love it!
Read it through once, and then read it again, but this time underlining all of the words that have been substituted for the word “ate/ eat”
Devour: to eat something very quickly
Nibble: to take small, quick bites
Gnaw: to chew something slowly
Munch: to chew noisily
Gobble: to eat quickly and greedily
Bite: to take a piece off with your teeth
Crunch: to chew very noisily when eating something crunchy
Consume: to eat or drink something
Inhale: to breathe in, but here it means to eat very, very quickly
Impale: To pierce through an object
Swallow: to pass food down your throat
Gulp: to swallow fast
Chew: to grind up with your teeth before swallowing
This activity is sure to be a hit with the kids. We had so much fun eating in all of these different ways. Just be aware that kids may continue to eat in these ways at mealtimes!
This exercise gives children the chance to try out different synonyms for the word eat. They have to think carefully about which synonyms give the appropriate meaning. Although synonyms are similar in meaning, they don’t always have exactly the same meaning. This exercise will get them to appreciate that not all synonyms can be used in all contexts.
In this writing activity, children get the chance to write creatively using as many synonyms of the word “eat” as possible. They can use the prompt “I was starving when I got home.” to help them start.
This exercise will help kids’ creative writing skills by encouraging them to incorporate a variety of synonyms for a common word like “ate.”
Using diverse and descriptive language really helps children can develop a richer vocabulary and a better understanding of how to express themselves more vividly in their writing. This exercise will also help them recognise the nuances in meaning that different words convey by choosing words that evoke a specific image or feeling.
I hope this weeks activities have helped your kids to gain a deeper appreciation for the power of synonyms in enriching their understanding of the text and their own writing.
If you would like to share the amazing work your children have done, feel free to email me photos of their work at firstname.lastname@example.org.