Before Reading Activity
How it is Used:
Word clouds are visually appealing arrangement
of the words in a text. The cloud gives size
prominence to words that appear more frequently in the text. There are several word cloud
To use a word cloud as a before reading str
Generate a word cloud. Either project it on the overhead/Promethean board or give each
student a copy. Ask students to pick out the most prominent words and
predict what the
passage will be about.
centered full class discussion: Ask studen
ts to choose one word from the word
cloud with which they are familiar and define it in their own words. Ask another student
to add to the definition. Continue until the class agrees on the definition.
This strategy activates students’ prior knowledge and
gives the teacher data on
knowledge of the subject.
Once the class has defined several of the words, ask, “What words in the word cloud do
you think other students in the class will have trouble with?”
Note: How you
this question is
No student wants to admit
that he or she does not know
, but this wording allows students to
identify words they do now know under the pretense of “what others may have
As students identify words that others may have tr
ouble with, ask if anyone is familiar
. Supplement with actual definitions.
Add words from the word cloud to your classroom’s word wall as appropriate.
Why it Works:
Such before reading strategies ease student comprehension of the
passage, since they will be less
likely to stumble over difficult vocabulary words when they encounter them in the reading.