Semantic Gradients and the Common Core Standards
by Lori Wolfe, Monthly Columnist
As elementary teachers we are always looking for and finding strategies to use with our students that broaden and deepen their understanding when reading. We know that when students, especially second language learners, can distinguish between the shades of meanings of related words, then they can be more precise and imaginative in their writing. Shades of meaning are the small differences among words that are related to a specific topic or idea. The Common Core Language Standard L.5 requires students to distinguish shades of meaning among words beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through elementary grades.
If you don’t know about semantic gradients, let me introduce you! Semantic gradients are powerful tools to teach elementary students the differences between related words and increase their vocabulary. This method of improving reading comprehension works with both English Language Learners and native English speakers and offers classroom teachers a vehicle to reach the needs of all of students. This type of gradient helps students distinguish between the subtle nuances of meaning of related words and broadens their understanding of connected words. Furthermore, gradients show all students how to use vocabulary precisely when expressing themselves in speaking and writing.
If you would like a free copy of the black line of the gradient I use in my classroom, click here!
How do you use a Semantic Gradient?
Where can I get more information about Semantic Gradients?
Reading rockets has an excellent, clear and informative video on using semantic gradients in an elementary classroom.
This is a quick and effective resource on semantic gradients:
Let me know if you use semantic gradients with your students!
About the Author
Lori Wolfe has taught English Language Development, bilingual 1st & 2nd grades, and as a Title I Reading and Math specialist. She also presents professional development workshops, develops curriculum and blogs. Follow her blogs at Fun To Teach ESL and Fun To Teach Math Blog for more great teaching ideas, tips, freebies and more. You can also find Fun To Teach on Facebook.