S.O.S: Reading Between the Lines

Welcome to week 3 of our Spotlight on Strategies Challenge!  Our new S.O.S series to provide help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

Reading Between the Lines
PDF Version

Words are a powerful force, but yet often we do all the talking. Sometimes what is best is to allow the words to reveal their own hidden message.  Wordle.net is often considered a “fun” tool, but not an instructional instrument. Through a simple cut and paste we can reveal what’s most important in a text and use that as an opportunity to build background knowledge for solid understanding of content.

The image above is a snapshot of a Wordle created from the reading passage Getting to Know Energy in Ecosystems Depending on a students history, passages like these can sometimes be challenging.  By creating the Wordle and sharing before students read, we can review the most important concepts and ensure that the class has foundational knowledge and address any misconceptions.

Select a reading passage that would interest your students from DE.  Cut and paste the text into Wordle.  The larger a word looks in the Wordle, the more times it appeared in the passage.  Have students discuss what words are most important to know before reading the passage and review the definitions.  Before students read the passage, have them go through the document and highlight the reviewed vocabulary words.

Have students summarize a reading passage.  Take a group of their summaries and cut and paste into Wordle.net.  Discuss which words were most common.  Have students re-write their summary to reflect the most important concepts.

You can take the challenge by:

  • Implementing this strategy and letting us know how it went by posting a comment below.
  • Using this strategies in your grade level planning discussions and/or professional development and reporting your events. (Remember we consider an event anytime 3 or more educators gather together… doesn’t have to be in a computer lab… could be sitting around the lunch table)
  • Photocopying the flier and distributing it in your colleague’s boxes and/or posting it to your own BulleDEN board.

For more information on how we are shining the light on digital integration through this weekly blog series click here.  So see other strategies in this series click here.  To download all PDF versions of our S.O.S series click here


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  1. Mary-Elizabeth Quan said:

    Thanks for sharing another way to use wordle.net in the classroom. Since going to the DoD in San Diego, I have been using it as a ocabulary activity for my kids. I take a passage that we are studying for the week. I copy or type it into wordle. Each student gets a copy and has to define the top 10 largest words in the wordle. When we start our new chapter, I will integrate the summary piece. That will be a great closer for the chapter. Thanks again!

  2. Alison Oswald-Keene said:

    I love this idea! I have used Wordle.net, more for entertainment or decoration. I look forward to sharing this idea with my science and social studies colleagues, it will help so much with integration of tech and Common Core reading and writing standards….Discovery Rocks!

  3. Marie Coleman said:

    The PDF version now links to “A Question Is” rather than “Reading Between the Lines”

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