Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Old School = Cloze Activities

A funny thing about education is how people come up with new words for old practices...  For grades 1-3, I use Harcourt Trophies and the corresponding workbooks for the base of my children's literature curriculum.  In the workbooks, there are many pages that require students to fill in the appropriate word from a word bank at the top in a blank within a sentence so that the sentence makes sense.  These are called "cloze" activities.

I've been noticing the use of the word "cloze" on many teaching resources over the past year, including many print books, and have puzzled about this word that I didn't use 15 years ago when I was getting my master's degree.  I just didn't bother to look it up.  Yesterday, I was looking at a book from fifteen years ago--that used that word and I asked my friend about it.  She explained that it's a practice that helps a child develop the skill of learning what sounds right together in a sentence.  Ah, that totally makes sense.

My reply?

Oh, so they're Mad Libs that make sense.

Yep, she chuckled.  They're Mad Libs that make sense.

The funny thing to me is that my kids have been doing this type of exercise all along, but I didn't have a technical name for it.  It's also funny to me how catch phrases get popular.  The book I was looking at yesterday was in print 15 years ago, it just wasn't a book I was aware of.  Somehow, the word "cloze" started getting attention.

The lesson I learned?  Solid reading instruction from fifteen years ago is still solid reading instruction today.  What seems new isn't really all that new!

If you want to work on this skill with your children and aren't using a general language workbook like Harcourt's, there are many worksheets online.  I found some great free ones HERE.  Just scroll down the page to get to them...

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