Focus on Action Verbs


Focus on Action Verbs

Posted on May 05, 2008

Focus on Action Verbs

Action Verbs Wordle

As promised, here are three more lesson ideas for targeting word choice.

As students pre-write, encourage them to use nouns and adjectives but also specific verbs they associate with a particular topic. Think of verbs as the engine of the sentence. The more specific and active the verb, the more powerful the sentence. Brummitt Elementary (Chesterton, IN) teacher Susan Hall has developed a fabulous "grocery-list" pre-write that works for her second graders. I love it for any grade! Click here to download a copy.

Encourage stronger action verbs in content-area writing, too. For a list of action verbs, sorted by content area, click here. Consider posting these as a student resource as alternatives to "get, put, make, do, take, go."

Listening to hallway conversations, Indian Springs Middle School teacher Jann Johnson noticed that "get" and "got" were becoming the verbs of choice for her 7th graders. She compiled a list of actual student statements and put them to paper. When talking about word choice in writing, she then gave the students the list and thanked them for creating their own lesson. (Some of the students even recognized themselves in the statements!) To revise the "get/got" verb choice, they had one rule -- the students were not allowed to use a new action verb more than once. Since the activity, Jann said her students have become more aware of the overuse of "got" in their own writing. "It has become our new word to avoid," she said. To download the get/got statements she compiled, click here.