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  1. Powerful Language
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  • book The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
  • chart paper
  • colored markers
  • sticky notes


  • To see how an author's word choice can be powerful for many reasons
  • To reflect on what makes language powerful to each of us
  • To create an anchor chart with symbols that can be used to indicate the reason(s) students chose powerful language to record in their logs

Resource Instructions

*Students have already established reader's response logs with three tabs: my thinking, powerful language, and genres & strategies

1. Remind students of their powerful language tab and that we are going to be working on making that section of our logs more meaningful and useful.

2. Do an interactive read aloud with The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown having already marked with sticky notes several places for students to talk about powerful language. I would recommend modeling first yourself by reading the first few pages and sharing language you selected as powerful and reasons you felt it was powerful.

Some examples of reasons for choosing powerful language my students have come up with include: helped them understand character's feelings, word they needed to clarify, helped them to make a prediction, felt like they could "taste" something, they want to try it in their own writing etc.

3. After the read aloud use the chart paper to record reasons that came up during the IRA and then decide on a symbol that's easy to draw to represent the reason. For example, if the reason was that the words helped them to picture or visualize what was happening the symbol could be an eye.

4. The students then read either an independent reading book or leveled books that you have already selected for them according to their reading ability and considering if that particular text would have powerful language while using the powerful language section of their notebook to record words and the appropriate symbols. Also encourage them to think of reasons that have not already been written on the chart. Circulate among them to prompt or clarify as needed.

5. End with a 5-10 minute shareout of language they found, but also allow them to share new reasons and suggested symbols to add to the anchor chart. You may want to leave the chart up for a few days so that you can add to it as needed.

6. Eventually, you will want to type up the reasons and symbols into a chart format (small enough to fit into their notebooks). Have the students glue the chart into their notebooks at the front of the Powerful Language section.


You could have students select an excerpt from a book they have chosen from a  collection of picture books based on an author, a holiday, etc. They could then record the excerpt and highlight or circle the powerful language and finally write a explanation of why the language was powerful to them.


*See attachment for possible organizer you could use.


Take note of students who participated in the the Interactive Read Aloud and/or the discussion for the anchor chart.

Collect notebooks after a week of collecting powerful language and use a rubric to assess how much collecting they have done and how many reasons they were able to use and were they noting those reasons with the appropriate symbols. This might be best conducted with one-on-one conferences.

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