Building schema to words and text is vital to reading comprehension. Students can call words all day, but will never truly comprehend until they can understand the words they are reading and connect them to their experiences. Word Maps are one way to show students how to connect to words and text in all content areas.
Reading Rockets has outlined how to use Word Maps.
A word map is a visual organizer that promotes vocabulary development. Using a graphic organizer, students think about terms or concepts in several ways. Most word map organizers engage students in developing a definition, synonyms, antonyms, and a picture for a given vocabulary word or concept. Enhancing students’ vocabulary is important to developing their reading comprehension.
How to use word maps
- Introduce 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.
The full article, including downloadable maps, can be found here.