Word Splash

wordWAVE3.jpg This teacher-directed activity asks students to look at a list of teacher selected words and write down or tell a partner everything they know about that word. At the end of this part of the activity, each group shares their brainstorming and the teacher writes their explanations for the whole class to see.

In true brainstorming fashion, there are no judgments or right or wrong responses. As the students brainstorm, the teacher asks clarifying questions: Why do you think that?

The class can see and hear all the possibilities, thus building some knowledge for which these words had no special meaning.

After class discussion of the shared brainstormed connections, students can next either compose a short narrative based on the words list (this is prediction) or read the article or story and confirm their meaning for word (this is first reading). More class discussion follows (McGinley & Denner, 1987).

Sample Word Splash

Sample Word Splash for Intermediate and Middle School "Iguana-Farms-A Wave of the Future"

Sample Word Splash for High School or College Biologoy

Vocabulary word

Pair Responses

Vocabulary Word

Pair Responses


no trees in the woods


short for Eugene cell


stupid, not wise or sharp

in silico

slicing, isolated


number of trees, age of iguana


life philosophy, subject


not wild, tame, outside



50 cent a pound

price of iguana, cost of food



(Kerr, 2002, p.3)

(Allen, 2002, p.3)


These strategies represent activities that are timeless, very useable and extremely practical for learning vocabulary. Because they have application to and can be implemented with any content material and any level, they offer the struggling reader a reliable process which can be used frequently as he/she progresses through the grades.