Rocking Relationship Vocabulary!

Reading to Learn

Taylor Willis

Rationale: Understanding vocabulary is essential in comprehending what one is reading.  If one does not know what the words they are reading mean, then he or she cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the text.  The best way to learn groups of words is to group them into semantic groups in order to be able to actively compare and contrast the alike words.   To gain ownership of the rules, the children will locate the words in context, relate the words to one another, and generate new sentences.

Materials: Vocabulary list for each student: Working together and apart, with words: feud, ally, foe, conspire, diplomat, compromise, pact, harmony; children's dictionary; assessment sheet for each student; Each child's history book 


1. Say: Today we are going to be looking at some new vocabulary words.  Remember that to be good readers, we have to know what the words we are reading mean, in order to get the information from what we are reading. One way for us to do that, is to learn words in groups that way, we can compare the words.  Though we do our best to learn words, sometimes when we are reading, we get to a word we do not know.  When we do this, we must use strategies to figure out the word we do not know.  One of these strategies is to look the word up in the dictionary.  Let's see if we can review looking words up in the dictionary with the first word on our list, feud. Let's say it was in the sentence, "The two families were feuding." And I wonder if it means friends or enemies.   (Begin to look up the word, explaining what you are doing as you are looking it up, if possible, show on a document camera for the class to see). First, I find the word in the dictionary.  I remember that the words are in alphabetical order, so I go over to the "f's," then "fe." Then "feu," oh there it is, "f-e-u-d." I know that "feuding" is the word feud with the ending -ing attached.  First we see how to pronounce it \ˈfyüd\. Then, I see that there are two different parts of speech, a noun and a verb.  Since I knew that it was acting as a noun in the sentence.  The noun definition says, "a bitter quarrel between two parties." I then noticed that this meant that the two families were fighting.


2. Say: So now, let's look at our list of words and try to make them into words that we will recognize when we see them and know what they mean. Today, we will only learn about the first half of the words: feud, ally, foe, and conspire. (Repeat the following procedure with the other half of the words on the following day). All of the words are ways in which people relate.  For example, you might say someone is your friend. That is how you relate to that person.  You might say that someone else is your enemy, again that is how you relate to that person.  Not everyone relates with the same person in the same way.  Think about how someone who is your enemy might be someone else's friend. Let's take a look at some words that talk about how people relate:

·        Our first word is feud. A feud is an argument, especially when you are talking about groups or families.  You might say that a feud broke out between families over who would get a piece of land.  It is not an agreement.

·        Our next word is ally.  An ally is someone who joins together for a purpose.  For example, two countries who fight on the same side in a war are allies.  Two allies are not usually in a feud with one another, but with someone else. An ally is someone on your side, not someone you are against.

·        The next word is foe.  A foe is an enemy, it is someone who you are against.  It is not someone who is on your side.  A foe is not an ally. You might say that the Alabama football team is a foe of the Auburn Football team.

·        The last word for today is conspire.  When you conspire, you plan with someone to do something together, usually something that is a crime.  For example, you might conspire to rob a bank with your brothers.  Usually when you conspire, it is secret.  You do not want other people to know your plan.  When you conspire, you do not just casually plan something, it is planned down to every last detail.  You could conspire with an ally to take out a foe who you are in a feud with.


3. Say: Now that we have looked at all of the words, let's practice taking ownership of these words.  I want each of you to find a partner, and in pairs I want you to compare the words.  I will put a list of words on the board and you decide if the two words could go together.  If they can, show me how in a sentence.  You can use my sentence to see how to do this.  (Have the sentence written on the board).  I conspire with an ally to take out a foe that I am in a feud with.


4. Write the following on the board (this could be done the same day or the following day):







I want you guys to look at each pair of words and discuss how the two words can or cannot go together.  If you think you have a good way for them to go together, write it down so you will remember and after everyone has had time to discuss, we will come back together and talk about it as a group.

Come back together as a group and discuss the class' findings.


4. Say: Now we are going to use these words to read.  We will be reading from our history books about World War II. This is one of the most famous wars that the United States was involved in. During this time, the United States were allies with England, the Soviet Union, and France and these were all called the Allied Powers.  As you read, make a list of the allies for each side, the Axis Powers and the Allied Powers, this will help you not become confused as to who is feuding with who. Allow each child to read the book silently, referencing dictionaries if needed for unknown words.



Each child's understanding will be assessed through their ability to accurately complete the sentences given.  This will be an assessment given to each student in which they should work alone.  The assessment should not be given until after the children have had multiple times to practice with the words.  (A suggested weekly plan is to introduce words 1-4 on day one, introduce words 5-8 on day two, have the children work with the words in partners on day three, and possibly day four, and then on the last day assess [this could be on day four or five, depending on how many days the children work with the words in pairs]).




Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words: Teaching Word Recognition from Phoneme Awareness to Fluency. Chapter 11:"Looking Ahead: Teaching Vocabulary and Comprehension Strategies." Ronkonkoma: Linus Publications, 2012. Pages 193-197. Print.

McKeown, M.G., Beck, I.L., Omanson, R.C., & Pople, M.T. (1985) . Some effects of the nature and frequency of vocabulary instruction on the knowledge and use of words. Reading Reseach Quarterly, 20, 522-535. 


Name ________________________________________________________________________

Directions: Finish each sentence to show your understanding of the vocabulary terms.


1. The two families were in a feud because ___________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________.

2. Great Britain and the United States were two powerful allies in World War II which led to _____________________________________________________________________________.

3.  The two friends suddenly turned into foes after ___________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________.

4. The two criminals conspired to _________________________________________________.

5. The diplomat from the United States went overseas to talk with the leaders from Iran after ________


6.  Lisa finally compromised, she said she would help clean the yard if Sarah _______________ _____________________________________________________________________________.

7.  The two boys made a secret pact to _____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________.

8.  The two people lived in harmony after  __________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________.

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