Author: Laya Steinberg
Illustrator: Debbie Harter
Publisher: Barefoot Books
Publication Date: 2003
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: A day in the life of Thesaurus Rex is fun when he adds in lots of interesting synonyms to describe what he does throughout his day.
What I Think: I still have my giant, red thesaurus that I lovingly used throughout high school and college. The tabs with the letters have long since fallen off but it’s still my go-to reference for synonyms. I love sharing it with my students and teaching them to use a thesaurus so they can include more interesting words in their writing. This book is so cute and a fun way to introduce the idea of synonyms to students. I love that his name is Thesaurus Rex because after you read the story you can talk about his name and introduce the thesaurus itself.
One activity I love to do with synonyms is to put them on a continuum so students can think about when they would use the synonym. Usually we started with one word and put that in the middle then we decide whether the synonyms go above or below the word depending on if they are less or more of the synonym. For example, if the word is “tell”, the word “whisper” would be above the word but the word “demanded” would be below the word. I’m always careful to tell kids that just because the word is listed as a synonym in the thesaurus it doesn’t mean they can interchange those words. They have to make sure the synonym that replaces the word makes sense with the sentence. For my students who are deaf and hard of hearing or for English language learners who maybe haven’t heard the synonym they have found used, this is harder to do. They’ll need help deciding which thesaurus sounds right or their writing might end up sounding awkward…but at least they’ll be able to look for synonyms to learn new words and vary their writing.Read Together: 2 - 12
Read Alone: 2 - 12
Read With: Many Luscious Lollipops (World of Language) by Ruth Heller, If You Were an Adjective (Word Fun) by Michael Dahl
Snatch of Text:
“Thesaurus Rex goes exploring:
Splish, splash his feet are soaking!”
Reading Strategies to Practice: Using Context Clues, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository, Poetry, Descriptive Writing, Word Choice
Writing Prompts: Explain a day in your life and what you do when you wake up until you go to bed. Write a poem about a typical day for you using the thesaurus to find descriptive adjectives.
Topics Covered: Dinosaurs, Thesaurus, Reference Books, Adjectives, Parts of Speech, $100 Words
Translated to Spanish: No