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Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms
Ages: 9-13   Grades: 4-8

Clear, concise instruction and in-depth practice helps students use synonyms and build a rich vocabulary. 


  • Increase flexibility in vocabulary
  • Give appropriate synonyms for a variety of words
  • Meet academic goals for curricular vocabulary
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Written in the successful format of the Spotlight series, the book has:

  • age-appropriate, curricular vocabulary
  • gradual progression in difficulty to build student success
  • light demands for spelling and writing
  • a pretest/posttest

Appealing, one-page lessons in a variety of formats, teach students:     

  • to recognize that synonyms are the same part of speech
  • to replace words with appropriate synonyms
  • to give appropriate synonyms for a variety of words
  • to distinguish true synonyms from words that are closely related

You may purchase Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Antonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Associations

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Multiple-Meaning Words

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Word Origins


Copyright © 2005

40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Successful reading comprehension is highly correlated with vocabulary development (Pressley, 2000).
  • "The importance of vocabulary in reading achievement has been recognized for more than half a century."  (National Reading Panel, 2000).
  • A systematic approach to teaching vocabulary, including direct and indirect instruction, teaches students that vocabulary is important for learning language and for reading (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).
  • Vocabulary instruction is a cornerstone of reading comprehension. Repeated exposures to words expands students' vocabulary and improves scores on standardized tests (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986).

Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. Solving problems in the teaching of literacy. New York: Guilford Press.

National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Pressley, M.L. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M.L. Kamil, P.B. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. III). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Stahl, S.A., & Fairbanks, M.M. (1986). The effects of vocabulary instruction: A model-based meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 56, 71-110.


Carolyn LoGiudice, Kate LaQuay


Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, was a speech-language clinician in school, clinic, and private settings before joining LinguiSystems in 1984.  She has co-authored many materials with LinguiSystems, including The WORD Test, No-Glamour Vocabulary Cards, The Test of Semantic Skills (TOSS-P and TOSS-I), and the All-Star Vocabulary game.

Kate LaQuay, J.D., became part of LinguiSystems' extended family more than 20 years ago when her mother, Carolyn LoGiudice, joined the company.  Now a mother herself, Kate has co-authored several LinguiSystems products, including U.S. History A Reading Comprehension Book, U.S. Government A Reading Comprehension Game, and Spotlight on Vocabulary Levels 1 and 2.  Previously, she practiced law for six years in Los Angeles.


All students need to expand their working vocabularies.  Some students have a natural facility for language and semantic relationships, enabling them to enlarge their vocabulary almost effortlessly.  Simply reading, listening, and talking seem to boost these students' vocabulary skills.

Many other students need to exert conscious energy to understand and recall an increasingly diverse vocabulary.  Some of them are poor or reluctant readers.  Other students have limited exposure to a rich variety of spoken English.  Still others have language-learning disabilities, attention disorders, or ineffective systems for storing and retrieving vocabulary.  All of these students can benefit from specific vocabulary exposure and instruction.  They can improve their vocabulary skills through conscious attention and guided learning.

The main goal of Spotlight on Vocabulary books is to help students recognize and use specific strategies to enrich their skills for understanding and using an increasingly rich vocabulary.  Synonyms, Level 2 teaches students that synonyms are words that mean almost the same thing, yet they can have different shades of meaning.  These are the student objectives of this book:

  • to understand that a synonym is one word that means almost the same thing as another word
  • to recognize that synonyms are the same part of speech
  • to replace words with appropriate synonyms
  • to give appropriate synonyms for a variety of words

Your students may have a general idea of what a synonym is, but they may not realize there are certain rules about choosing and using synonyms.  The activities in this book are designed to teach students that a true synonym is a single word that is the same part of speech as the word the synonym could replace.  For example, clean and neatness are closely related in meaning, but they are not true synonyms; clean and neat are synonyms and neatness and cleanliness are synonyms.

First teach your students to sort words into broad groups of synonyms that mean about the same thing.  Then teach them to detect the slight differences among those synonyms so they know the best one to use to say what they mean.  For example, the synonyms under, below, and beneath all mean something about a downward direction, but you would say your temperature is "below normal," not "under normal" or "beneath normal."

Here are some guidelines for doing the activities in this book with your students:

  • Have your students take the Pretest/Posttest before they begin doing the activities in this book.  When they have completed the book, have them retake the test and compare the results to their original scores.
  • Teach your students to look for synonyms in what they read and what they hear.  Student slang is usually a rich language environment for synonyms they know and use often, such as cool, awesome or sweet.
  • Use each word in a sentence as you present it to your students.  Then ask a student to use it in another sentence.
  • Make sure your students have ready access to a student-friendly dictionary and thesaurus.  Encourage your students to consult these references at any time when they're doing the activities.
  • For many words used in these exercises, there are other synonyms.  Encourage small groups of students or individuals to locate additional synonyms and share them with the class for extra enrichment.
  • Make a set of flash cards for synonyms.  List a word on one side and a few synonyms on the other side.  Have a small group of students take turns looking at either side of a card and guessing the information on the back of the card.
  • Make a list of ten words with several common synonyms for each one.  Write each word and each synonym on a separate card.  Give one card to each student.  Ask the students to arrange themselves in groups of synonyms.  (Some students may find their words could join more than one group of synonyms.)  Then as a class, list all the combinations discovered in this activity.
  • Feature a common word for a week.  Put a large sheet of paper on a bulletin board and have your students list as many synonyms as they can for the word.  Begin this activity with a word with many common synonyms, such as great, happy, or talk.

We hope Spotlight on Vocabulary Level 2 Synonyms is a big hit with you and your students!

Carolyn and Kate