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S4: Super Synonym Sets for Stories

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S4 is an extension of the ever-popular E4 (Exceptional Expressions for Everyday Events). The focus of S4 is to highlight the words that students may encounter while reading narrative texts. 

While synonyms of words can be used interchangeably, authors of narratives select specific words to describe a very precise mood or situation. An ominous evening carries with it the suspenseful feeling that something bad is about to happen. If the author had written a dark evening, the reader would be left with an impression that the night was simply dark and without moonlight or streetlight. Not knowing or acknowledging the subtle differences of a word can hinder the reader's comprehension of the text.

Freddy has identified four categories that are commonly used in narrative texts. Many words from these categories have synonyms that vary subtly from each other. 

Communication / Internal Processes (verbs) Emotions (adjectives) Movement (verbs) Traits (adjectives)
Think Happy Go Funny
Argue Sad Send Smart
Look Mad Start Brave
Guess Hope Stop Selfish
Said Fear Stay Shy

The S4 program contains all the features found in E4. Included with each featured word is an introduction to how the word is used in narrative texts, follow-up questions that help stimulate discussion of the subtle nuances of the featured word, a short etymology history of the featured word, and text on how the featured word undergoes changes in its meaning depending on its usage. Also like in E4, included in S4 are word webs and morphological webs that highlight changes in meaning and structure.

Argue

Arguing students are not something teachers want to hear in their classroom, but authors use aruguing characters to show that there are opposing views in an issue.

Guess

Within narrative texts, characters may experience the same educational process of guessing as students in the classroom do.

Stay

Stay can have many meanings in the books and stories we read.

Stop

Stop is a word we use everyday that has multiple meanings.

Funny

The meanings of the word funny can be loosely separated into two groups: humorous and non-humorous.

Mad

Three ways the word mad is commonly used are in reference to a person’s excitement, anger, or mental instability.

Brave

The word brave has three primary definitions that students may encounter in the texts they read.

Shy

The different ways that the word shy is used can be categorized into three themes: anxious, suspicious, and deficient.

Smart

Students may encounter the word smart in many of the texts they read.

Selfish

Students may encounter texts where characters are and the lessons within these texts often include encouraging children to develop compassion, gratitude, and sharing skills.

Look

There are all sorts of looking that takes place over a school day. Students look up when there is a loud noise, they look out of the window, and they look for their books when it’s time to change subjects.

Happy

Happy is a very common word, but it does have some subtleties in the ways it is used.

Sad

Sad, like its opposite, happy, is an adjective generally used to describe feelings, although in this instance the feelings are those of sorrow or unhappiness.

Said

Said is the past tense and past participle form of the word say, and it is an unavoidable term for anyone using the English language.

Think

Let’s think about ways to use the word think.

Go

Go is a word commonly used in literature and students will encounter many of its definitions.

Hope

Hope is a concept that most students will be familiar, which will help them when they encounter the word in their readings.

Send

There are three general themes among the various definitions of the word send: going, delivering, and emitting.

Start

The books and stories students encounter may include many different uses of the word start, both as a noun and verb.

Fear

Fear is an emotion that is experienced by most people, but the nuances of the word may be hard for students to grasp.