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Daily Word Ladder + Pic Collage = Treasure Trove of Language Skills!

I am always searching for motivating, interactive and concise language interventions for my school age clients; Daily Word Ladders (Scholastic), paired with the Pic Collage App is one such treasure.

The Daily Word Ladder is a series of three books targeting a range of levels from first through sixth grade. Each book contains approximately 100 word ladder lessons. Each lesson is designed around a seasonal theme, category or concept. At each "rung" of the ladder, directions and a semantic clue are identified and read. The child then needs to manipulate, add or delete letters to form new words as they climb to the top of the ladder. Throughout this process to reach the top, the children are utilizing and building upon the following lanugage skills:

  • Phonological Awareness

  • Morphological Awareness

  • Vocabulary

  • Word Finding

  • Syntax

  • Categorization and Association Skills

  • Following Directions

  • Inferencing

  • Executive Function (organzing and evaluating information)

In the example included (click here), you will notice that I have the children follow a specific procedure when reading the directions and identifying new vocabulary words; they circle the action that they are required to complete, underline important information and highlight new words. This ability to dissect and evaluate what is being asked of them in a direction is a crucial building block for developing executive function skills.

Many of the word ladder lessons contain new vocabulary words. Applying vocabulary strategies, my clients use the Pic Collage App to create a new entry into their personal dictionary that is stored on their iPad. They are free to design, create and personalize each one of their "new word collage boards"; however, they know that the vocabulary collage must contain specific information. In the Pic Collage example (click here), you will note the inclusion of the following requirements:

  • A picture from the Web which provides the best visual representation of the word

  • Identification of the part of speech

  • An antonym and synonym for the word

  • Definition of the word

  • Original sentence for the word

Although this activity can be challenging for some of my clients, it ranks as one of the most highly requested interventions; they are engaged and interested while developing and refining language skills and strategies.

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