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Tutor Tip of the Month: Using a Thesaurus

(from Second Start Adult Literacy, Oakland Library)

Kelly Frasier, a Second Start tutor and staff member, came up with a novel idea for helping her student learn to use a Thesaurus and expand his vocabulary. First, she explained how a Thesaurus was like a dictionary and how it was different. She then had her learner read a short descriptive paragraph with some key words underlined. Her student wrote down the underlined words, looked them up in the Thesaurus, and made columns of synonyms for each word. After this, he re-read the paragraph and copied it, inserting a new word for each underlined word.

Kelly notes that, "Reading through the second time there was less hesitation. There were some words he decided not to change because another word would not have made as much sense. After he had rewritten the paragraph, he read it again with almost no hesitation. He really like doing this and seemed pleased to use the bigger words which are in his vocabulary."

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