Through short activities, we can teach students to locate interesting words or golden lines as they read. Golden lines are powerful quotes or ideas from an author that can prompt interesting discussion. Students learn to find golden lines, first by finding lines that strike them while they read, and they practice marking them with post-its in the margins, or by noting them into a word study notebook. When your students see or hear an interesting word or golden line in what they read or view, have them take note and follow the steps below:
- Collect the word. While reading, note words that are important, interesting or difficult. Read around the word and think of about its possible meaning.
- Record the word and sentence. Sometimes sentences are too long so sections of the sentence can be recorded.
- “Take apart.” Look at word parts and think about their meaning. Look at the different parts of the word – prefixes, suffixes, and base word or root.
- Think of related words. Show students how to go from the word parts from “take apart” to brainstorming related words by the meaningful parts of words (e.g., syn- chron –y). Students can work in pairs to brainstorm related words, and they can concentrate on different parts: prefixes, suffixes and roots or bases.
- Study the word in the dictionary. Record interesting information. Show students how to read the dictionary and its abbreviations. Students can use brief etymological resources to study words and their histories. Students can add additional words from the dictionary and etymological resources to their lists of related words.
- Review and share. Students report back what they learned and recorded in their word study notebooks. Consider small group, whole class, small group and partner configurations for studying and sharing interesting words. Reading comprehension activities often follow from sharing our interesting vocabulary words.