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SPARC® for Attributes
Ages: 4-10   Grades: PreK-5

Students learn to identify and organize attributes and to use that information to make word definitions.  The step-by-step lessons work well for students with language processing disorders and English Language Learners.   

Outcomes

  • Identify attributes
  • Name and sort items by category
  • Define items by critical features
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#31159
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Busy clinicians rely on the SPARC series for:

  • convenience and portability
  • loads of pictures and practice opportunities
  • a systematic progression of discrete skills  

The book is organized into sixteen themed units (e.g., fruits, furniture, zoo animals, and sports).  Each unit has five two-page activities.  Each activity consists of a page of pictured items and a page of corresponding stimuli for the instructor. 

Each unit targets four skill areas:

  • Understanding Attributes—identify important attributes such as category, size, color, parts, and uses by pointing, naming, and using prior knowledge
  • Naming, Sorting & Identifying Attributes—brainstorm items in a category, use a picture scene to name eight items in a category, sort items by one or two attributes, and identify one or two common attributes for a small group
  • Comparing Two Members of a Category—describe how two items are alike and different
  • Understanding & Completing Definitions—identify the critical features of items and use them to make word definitions

Copyright © 2002

Components
165 pages
  • "The incremental nature of vocabulary growth involves adding correct attributes, deleting false attributes, and decontextualizing students' word definitions" (Fukkink, Blok, & de Glopper, 2001).
  • Vocabulary skills correlate strongly with academic success and literacy attainment (NICHD, 2000).
  • In-depth knowledge of word meaning helps students comprehend what they read and helps them use words accurately in speaking and reading (Taylor-Goh, 2005).

SPARC for Attributes incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

Fukkink, R.G., Blok, H., & de Glopper, K. (2001). Deriving word meaning from written context: A multicomponential skill. Language Learning, 51(3), 477-496.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.

Author(s)

Kathy Donnelly, Susan Thomsen

Biography

Kathy Donnelly, M.A., CCC-SLP, has been a speech-language pathologist for over 18 years.  She is currently working for the Kentwood Public Schools in Kentwood, Michigan.  Kathy's primary interests are the language basis of reading and data-based decision making.  SPARC for Attributes is her fourth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also co-author of SPARC for Phonology and SPARC for Grammar.

Susan Thomsen, M.A., CCC-SLP, has been a speech-language pathologist for over 26 years and is currently head speech-language pathologist for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Clinton, Iowa.  Susan's interests are in the areas of beginning reading, language, academics, and data-based decision making.  SPARC for Attributes is her eighth publication with LinguiSystems.  She is also the author of SPARC Revised and co-author of SPARC for Phonology and SPARC for Grammar.

Introduction

SPARC for Attributes is an invaluable resource for speech-language pathologists, special education teachers, ESL and bilingual teachers, and regular education teachers and is particularly helpful because it uses categories to teach students attributes and definitions.

SPARC for Attributes includes 16 theme units.  Each unit has four sections with activities for:

  • Understanding Attributes
    Students learn to identify important attributes such as category, size, color, parts, and uses by pointing, naming, and using prior knowledge.  An attribute chart is provided for each section to facilitate learning.
  • Naming, Sorting & Identifying Attributes
    Students activate prior knowledge by brainstorming items in a specific category and using a picture scene to name eight items in a category.  In this section, students will also sort items by one or two attributes and identify one or two common attributes for a small group.
  • Comparing Two Members of a Category
    Teaches students a sentence framework for describing how two items are alike and how two items are different.
  • Definitions
    Teaches students to zero in on the critical features when defining words.  Words are illustrated in graphic organizers that feature the category name and two unique characteristics for each word.

SPARC for Attributes is a flexible teaching tool to use in a variety of settings, including work with individual and small groups or for collaborative lessons and whole class instruction.  SPARC for Attributes is also a valuable resource for ESL and bilingual teachers for language learning and remediation.

Here are some suggestions for using SPARC for Attributes.  Encourage your students to:

  • Make attribute charts for other categories such as family members or writing tools.
  • Use the comparing similarities and differences framework for any two words to expand critical thinking skills.
  • Use the definition organizer and sentence framework to define other words.

SPARC for Attributes provides a rich variety of opportunities for language learning as your students learn and think about words.

Kathy and Susan