Strategy: Most Important Word
Bleich, David. (1975). Reading and Feelings: An Introduction to Subjective Criticism. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Overview: It is important to remember that the craft of writing is primarily a process of choosing words that will reflect the true meaning of the author's message. A good writer consistently "draws the reader in" by making the unfamiliar aspects become familiar. The Most Important Word strategy may be used throughout the reading of a selection.
An example of Most Important Word can be found in the Kylene Beers (2003) book, When Kids Can't Read: What Teachers Can Do. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
The poem "The Sacred" by Robert Coffin was read. It was decided, after a whole-class discussion, that the most important word in the poem was love. Each student was given a graphic organizer with the center circle reserved for the Most Important Word. On the upper left was a space to identify the characters. Below that, the students were instructed to write what the conflict was. In the space on the upper right, the theme of the poem was stated and below that, the setting. Finally, below the center circle, a brief summary of the plot was written. A template of this form can be found on page 325 in the book cited above.
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