Wake up those tired words by choosing stronger synonyms

by | Mar 12, 2009 | Teaching Homeschool Writing, Word Banks

Do your kids regularly fill their sentences with ho-hum words? Common ones include

  • big
  • happy
  • nice
  • walked
  • said

Here’s a fabulous idea for a pocket word bank to help children choose more concrete synonyms instead.

Prepare Your Pocket Word Bank

For this activity, you will need an online thesaurus such as Thesaurus.com or an excellent print-version thesaurus such as The Synonym Finder.


  1.  Write several words your kids tend to overuse on colorful cards, and insert the cards into a pocket chart.
  2.  Enter one of those “tired” words in an online thesaurus such as Power Thesaurus or KidThesaurus.com.
  3.  Browse the various lists and pick out a handful of reasonable synonyms.
  4.  Type them up using a large, clear font.
  5.  Print out the words and cut them into strips, laminating them so they hold up longer.
  6.  Repeat for each tired word in the pocket chart.
  7.  Place the synonym strips behind the appropriate word cards.
Make a pocket chart word bank to help kids choose strong, descriptive synonyms instead of weak, overused, or tired words.

A “Good” Illustration

Let’s use good as an example, since it’s overused a lot. It’s convenient and easy to write good friend, good snack, good worker, or good child, even though the word good means different things each time.

But just think! With a few synonyms at their disposal, your children can pick much stronger, more specific words for their writing instead:

Make a pocket chart word bank to help kids choose strong, descriptive synonyms instead of weak, overused, or tired words.
Tired Words pocket chart
  • honorable
  • marvelous
  • pleasing
  • competent
  • virtuous
  • skillful
  • healthy
  • wholesome
  • reliable
  • friendly
  • kindhearted
  • gracious
  • obedient
  • well-mannered

Rather than use the tired word good, they can choose a stronger word from the pocket chart to describe a kindhearted friend, healthy snack, skillful worker, or obedient child. Not only will their writing improve, their vocabulary will grow too!

It’s time to make a Tired Words pocket word bank of your own! In no time, you’ll start seeing more descriptive, lively words spilling from your kids’ pens.

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Baby photo: Karen Ho, courtesy of Creative Commons

1 Comment

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