Two Words

I learned this activity recently at a Social Studies workshop provided by our district and now I use it ALL the time, especially during Self Selected Reading (SSR--for those of you that don't use Four Blocks). I learned lots of other Reading and Writing integration activities, but I thought I would share my favorite from that day.

"Two Words" is an activity you can use after experiencing any for of text. It could be a read aloud, a piece of informational text from Science or Social Studies class, a letter, primary documents...the possibilities are endless! I would tell them before reading what their purpose is for that text. Remind them that they need to be thinking about two words that the book makes them think of. Then, read!

After reading, you have them choose two words that they thought of while reading the or two words that the book made them think of and then explain why they chose those two words in a sentence or two. You can have them do this on a sticky note and add it to a class chart or just have them write it in a notebook.

It's a good way to assess what each of your students got out of the book and see which of your little gems were payin' attention! It is always interesting to me when I do this because the range of words produced are so vast and different. Some are very simple-straight-from-the-book words and some are very thought provoking-deep-major idea words.

In honor of the Martin Luther King holiday, we did this activity in my class with the book, "Martin's Big Words." Indeed the words in this story are very powerful and deep, but students still understand the significance and importance of who he was. An example from one of my students looked like this:

I wrote unfair and courage. I chose those words because Martin had a lot of courage to stand up to the unfair things that happened to him and his family. 

I think this is such a great activity because students are asked to reflect on how they felt after experiencing very some powerful information. Kids and adults alike make connections in so many different ways so I think it's a great tool to get them thinking about how they feel, then thinking about why they feel that way, and finally sharing it with the rest of the class.

Applying this concept to non-fiction works well also. You can have them pick out what they think are the two most important words or ideas from the reading and explain why they chose those.

Personally, my favorite thing about this is the idea of providing a rationale for your thoughts. It makes it hard for students so they don't just scribble down two words they heard from the book. They actually THINK about what they got out of text, instead of just copying down what they heard.

I have only two words to say...



  1. I love that idea! It might be hard for me to do in a written way with kindergarten kids, but I think I could do it orally sometimes, seems like a great summary to the book and gets the kids thinking about the big picture of the book.

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