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Word Clouds: A fun Pre-reading Knowledge Activation Activity

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Pink rectangular image. Green text says Word and blue text says Clouds. Black text says pre-reading activity. Image of a white thought bubble. Black Speechie Adventures logo in the bottom right-hand corner.

Hi friends!

Have you ever used word clouds in your therapy sessions? One way I like to use them is for story knowledge activation! Knowledge activation is an evidence-based practice (in the literacy-based therapy framework) that helps students connect what they already know about a given topic with what they will be learning about in the story.

I start off by introducing a topic or theme that links to the story we're going to read. I then prompt my students with statements and questions like:

💭 Tell me about…

💭 Describe…

💭 What do you think about…

💭 What do you know about…

💭 What comes to mind when you hear the word…

💭 Have you ever heard of...

💭 Have you ever been too or seen...

The students then choose any color marker or crayon they want and write/trace/copy their connection onto the word cloud. Students can write in any size and have the option of using capital letters, lowercase letters, or even cursive if they’d like. Sometimes a student will want to add simple pictograph-like doodles as well. I find the more space students are given to be creative, the more engaged they are.

Grey castle with a variety of colorful words that relate to fairy tales. Black text at the bottom that states Fairy Tale Themed Word Cloud.

If you have access to a projector, you can also project a word cloud onto the whiteboard and have students write with their ideas with dry erase markers.

Their ideas and background knowledge tend to spark conversations and provides natural opportunities to discuss concepts in the story prior to reading it. The goal of this activity and knowledge activation activities in general is to support comprehension of the story.

The word cloud can then be referenced while reading the story or afterwards and students can be given the opportunity to add to the word cloud. It can then be referenced in future therapy sessions where you are reading stories with the same theme or topic.

square image with a red background, a worksheet with a grey dinosaur on it, and the cover of a book titled Library Books Are Not For Eating. The text says word clouds in green and blue and pre-reading activity in black

🌟 Where to get word clouds

Word cloud generators can be found for free online!

I also have 83 different word clouds that span a variety of themes, which you can access here. You can also download a sample pack by becoming a subscriber below ⬇️

 clickable link to subscribe for a free sample pack of word clouds. The image shows an example of the free sample.  text reads Sign up for my email newsletter and get a free sample of my thematic word clouds!

Hope that helps! Have fun! 💛

Three grey mountains with some white snow on to. A small heart in a speech bubble. Four boot prints underneath the mountain. The name Sarah in pink, blue, peach, green, and purple colors.

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