Showing Style: Fun with Vivid Verbs!

Jan 19, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Are you finding it a bit challenging to get back into the swing of things after the winter pause? Do you have a classroom of listless children you are struggling to re-engage? One of our certified instructors recently shared a fun and fruitful activity she did with her class that will help your students ban those boring verbs and still have fun to boot!

To prepare, acquire copies of an easy reader such as a Dr. Seuss book. The charming, simple language, which allows young readers to gain fluency, also provides a rich source of basic verbs that older students can replace with their own “dressed up” versions. Make certain you have a copy of the same book for each student as well as for you. Frequently you can find used copies at library book sales, resale book stores, or online to reduce your costs. Once you’ve gathered the books, the fun begins!

If you are working with your own children at home, gather them around you on the couch or some other comfortable space. For larger classrooms or co-ops, project an e-book version of the book up onto the whiteboard so that your edits, which you can make directly onto the whiteboard, will be clearly visible.

Begin by sharing the story out loud. As you come to a banned word, mark it by circling it and then drawing a slash mark through it. Have your students mark their books along with you. Once you’re finished with marking the verbs, have each of your students set to work dressing up the story with their own “vivid verbs,” what IEW calls “strong verbs,” by writing directly in their copy of the book. A way to make those edits flow even more smoothly would be to equip each student with a Portable Wall.


The students will enjoy having their own personally edited copy of the story. You can extend the fun by re-reading the story aloud but having the students take turns supplying one of their dressed-up verbs in place of each banned one.

It’s an exercise that’s sure to elicit their involvement and remain in their memories! Have fun!

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