When it comes to vocabulary, word analogies are vocabulary gold! These “little” word puzzles present learning opportunities that go beyond other types of word work. Word analogies are not only effective at building vocabulary, they also develop critical thinking skills. Unlike vocabulary activities that require students to memorize word definitions, word analogies develop a deep understanding of words by exploring meaningful relationships. When students from logical connections between words, they create a mental network of ideas—this deepens understanding and increases retention.
When students work with analogies, they…
- expand and deepen their vocabulary.
- understand the relationships between ideas and words.
- recognize and understand multiple-meaning words.
- think critically and apply logical reasoning.
- learn to decipher word meanings based on context.
- build a network of understanding that improves retention and aids future learning.
Word analogies can be a little tricky for students who are unfamiliar with them. Just like with any new skill, carefully choose word analogies that are appropriate for your students. I recommend beginning with analogies that are slightly below their instructional levels.
Begin with explaining just what a word analogy is.
Explicitly teaching students to use “bridge sentences” will allow them to determine the relationships between word pairs.
Students should be given plenty of opportunities to create bridge sentences for various word pairs.They should also be shown how to write them in reverse since the order of the word pairs can vary.
Students can then use “bridge sentences” to think through the word pairs that make up an analogy.
Once students understand the concept of a bridge sentence, begin teaching them the common types of analogy relationships.
With an understanding of bridge sentences and the types of analogies, your students will be set up for success! Present them with leveled word analogies that will allow you to increase the difficulty as their skills and vocabularies improve.
Click on the images below to download free sets of word analogies.
Click here for a FREE PowerPoint of the various slides included in this post.