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Poison Words


For a change of pace, we do something we call Poison Word. Before we start reading aloud, I choose a word the children will come across in the story they are going to read. (The idea is to choose a word that the kids will come across frequently enough so you can give everyone enough turns to read.) It works like this: a student starts reading the selection and when she/he comes to the poison word, he/she stops reading without saying the poison word. The next person says the poison word and keeps reading until he/she comes to the poison word, and so on. If the student who is reading accidentally says the poison word, he/she is skipped the next time around. With this method some students will read only one or two words before they have to stop and others will read four or five sentences, but it's not a big deal to the kids. The rest of the class is glued to the book because they are trying to see who is going to get out by accidentally reading the poison word. Every once in a while I will choose the word 'the' for fun, but choosing a word that is said so often will make comprehension a little tougher.

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