You are watching: What is the purpose of using a word map
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
Why use word maps?They"re useful for helping students develop their understanding of a word.They help students think about new terms or concepts in several ways by asking the following questions:"What is it?""What is it like?" and"What are some examples?"They help student build upon prior knowledge and visually represent new information.
How to use word mapsIntroduce the vocabulary word and the map to the students.Teach them how to use the map by putting the target word in the central box.Ask students to suggest words or phrases to put in the other boxes which answer the following questions: "What is it?" "What is it like?" and "What are some examples?"Encourage students to use synonyms, antonyms, and a picture to help illustrate the new target word or concept.Model how to write a definition using the information on the word map.
Download blank templates
See example of a completed word map for the vocabulary word "harbor" and examples of using synonyms, antonyms and the student"s description. See example >
Teachers can use word maps to teach new and unfamiliar terms in various math units. See example >
Teachers can use this strategy to teach unfamiliar vocabulary terms in science units. See example >
Learn how word maps can be integrated within a geography lesson to teach new concepts and terms. See example >
For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learnersGive students who need extra help the chance to work with a partner.Allow students to use pictures to illustrate when appropriate.Adjust the number of words students need to map.Provide students with sentences each containing the target word. The sentences should provide enough context clues to enable students to complete a word map.Instruct advanced students to refer to the dictionary, encyclopedia or other reference books for help in completing the word map. Ask them to compare their definitions and the dictionary definition.
See the research that supports this strategy
Baumann, J. F., & Kameenui, E. J. (1991). Research on vocabulary instruction: Ode to Voltaire. In J. Flood, J. D. Lapp, & J. R. Squire (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching the English Language Arts (pp. 604-632). New York: Macmillan.
Colorín Colorado. (2007). Using Science to Develop ELLs Language Skills.
Jones, R. (2007). Strategies for Reading Comprehension: Vocabulary Word Maps.
Jones, R.C., & Thomas, T.G. (2006). Leave No Discipline Behind. The Reading Teacher, 60(1), 58-64.
Schwartz, R. M., & Raphael, T. E. (1985). Concept of definition: A key to improving students" vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 39, 198-205
Texas Education Agency. (2002). Teaching Word Meanings as Concepts.
Children"s books to use with this strategy
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
By: William Steig
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
When a young donkey named Sylvester comes across a magic pebble, he saves himself from a confrontation with a lion by wishing himself into a rock. Frantic parents search for Sylvester until they stop for a picnic on a large rock. Rich language and humorous cartoon illustrations make this a memorable classic.
Big, Bigger, Biggest
By: Nancy Coffelt
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
One animal"s claim is followed by others who are successively bigger, smaller, etc., each using rich (and richer) descriptors.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
By: Beatrix Potter
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Peter’s disobedience almost gets him cooked while his siblings, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail enjoy a tasty supper in this timeless and satisfying tale. Potter’s carefully detailed and highly realistic illustrations amplify the fantasy and dramatize Peter’s possible consequences.
I enjoyed reading about Word Maps. Actually they"re likegraphic organizers for words and students can relate to that.Interesting reading.
Submitted by I. Lee (not verified) on January 23, 2014 - 7:47pm
so lucky day
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on August 29, 2013 - 8:25am
look the books
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 16, 2013 - 8:09pm
I would love to use this strategy I my 1st grade class as well. Vocabulary is one area my higher level readers need to be challenged in, especially since we are reading 2nd grade level books. I would complete a word map as a group, then let them work in partners. I think the children would love to share their work with the group, and even with the class after reading a new book.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 24, 2013 - 7:54pm
I love to use word maps in kindergarten. We do these a lot together as a class to discuss new vocabulary. We also use a lot of pictures on the map as needed to help students create an understanding of the word. We do it on chart paper during whole group reading.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 24, 2013 - 5:13pm
This looks like a great tool to use when promoting vocabulary development. I like how it can be modified for any grade level and can work with any content area. It challenges the student to think beyond the meaning of the word. I also like that it is a "visual" graphic organizer.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 22, 2013 - 6:37pm
I can"t wait to try this in my first grade class now. My students are advanced readers and I"m always looking for fun ways to challenge them. This would be great to use a dictionary for practice and you can incorporate so many things with word association while doing this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 19, 2013 - 8:28am
My kids are ELL students. I should also state that the word maps are done on chart paper, so they are fairly large.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 29, 2010 - 12:33pm
How can I use word maps in groups? I don"t have a lot of time and what I usually do is assign one word to a group of 4/5 students. Each group does the research and comes up with something similar to Example 2, and then we share our completed words and the rest of the class takes notes. Then I post each completed word map where they are visible to the students.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 29, 2010 - 12:29pm
More information about text formats
Plain textNo HTML tags allowed.Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
New and Popular
Finding Children’s Books in a Pandemic
Transitioning from Word Walls to Sound Walls
Supporting Children with Autism During COVID-19
The Simple View of Reading
Mary Amato’s Tips for Keeping a Writer’s Notebook
Understanding and Assessing Fluency
Get Widgets |
Our Literacy Blogs
Shanahan on Literacy
Should We Departmentalize Our Primary Grades?
Right to Read
What Can I Do With All These Predictable Books?
Launching Future Astronauts!
Page by Page
Collaboration on the gridiron: an interview with Fred Bowen and James Ransome
Get Widget |
Find the best apps for building literacy skills.
Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and discover ways to help.
What parents, teachers and child care providers need to know.
Watch or listen to our classroom video, author interviews and more.
See more: Quick Answer: Why Is Smoke A Solution, Colloid, Or Suspension Vs
Real questions from parents and educators, answered by experts.
Children"s Books & Authors
Reading Topics A-Z
Research, Guides & Resources
Connect and share
"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase
Classroom StrategiesResearch-based teaching strategies
Reading BasicsFrom print awareness to comprehension
Reading 101 CourseK-3 professional development course
Looking at WritingWriting samples from real kids pre-K–3
More in Teaching Reading:
Why Some Kids StruggleThe reasons why some kids struggle with reading
Target the Problem!Pinpoint the problem a struggling reader is having and how to help
Reading InterventionsWatch one-on-one reading support in action with K-3 students
FAQsQuestions about reading, writing, dyslexia and more
More in Struggling Readers:
Author InterviewsMeet your favorite authors and illustrators in our video interviews
Book FinderCreate your own booklists from our library of 5,000 books!
Themed BooklistsDozens of carefully selected booklists, for kids 0-12 years old