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In Other Words: Using a Thesaurus

Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 3-5, 6-8 (adaptable for all grade levels)

Cynthia H. Lynch, who teaches at C. E. Hanna Elementary School, in Hobson City, Alabama, submitted this week's lesson -- finding synonyms in a thesaurus

Brief Description

This lesson is a learning center activity to reinforce lessons on using a thesaurus and on synonyms.


To engage students in the practical uses of a thesaurus and to reinforce the use of synonyms as a way of making writing more interesting.


thesaurus, reference skills, writing, and vocabulary

Materials Needed

thesaurus, worksheet.

Lesson Plan

When we write, we sometimes use the same words repeatedly. At other times, we use boring words when more exciting words would make the writing more interesting. At times like these, using a thesaurus can help us make our writing more exciting. A thesaurus is a book of synonyms. A synonym is a word that has the same, or nearly the same, meaning as another word.

Read the story below. Create a more interesting story by using a thesaurus to find a synonym for each of the words in parentheses. Be sure the words you choose are grammatically correct and make sense in the story.

The Story
Aunt Skeeter and the (bad) __________ Itch

It was a (very) __________ hot day at Bluebell Farm. Aunt Skeeter had been (working) __________ in the garden since daybreak. She looked up at the (hot) __________ sun and wished she could go swimming in the (cool) __________ creek. All at once, Aunt Skeeter had a (good) __________ idea. She decided that a swim was just what she needed. So she (ran) __________ down to the creek and (jumped) __________ in! A smile spread across her face as she floated on the water. The (nice) __________ swim didn't last very long, however. All of a sudden, Aunt Skeeter let out a (cry) __________ that could be heard in the next county. She jumped out of the water as though she'd been shot from a cannon. She wiggled and squirmed, trying to (find) __________ the source of her discomfort. Finally, after one (big) __________ shake, a (fat) __________ catfish came flopping out of Aunt Skeeter's overalls. Seeing the catfish made Aunt Skeeter (laugh) __________ so hard that she had the hiccups for two days!

Activity Time

20-30 minutes


After students complete the activity, encourage them to share their new and improved stories with one another.

Lesson Plan Source

Cynthia H. Lynch, C. E. Hanna Elementary School, Hobson City, Alabama

As our highlighted lesson, the submitter was awarded a $50 honorarium. See our guidelines to submit yours!


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