Igniting Critical and Creative Thinking

Teaching Synonyms for Said: A Said is Dead Alternative

Sometimes teaching dialogue in writing can feel like you’re banging your head against a wall. You’ve done all the things. You’ve modeled good examples, practiced, and repeated the steps over and over. BUT…your students writing still isn’t where you would like it to be. Especially with their word usage. They can easily fall into a rhythm and repeat the same words over and over again. “Said” is one of those words this happens with. Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite ways of teaching synonyms for said, because let’s face it ‘said is dead’ is a good classroom mantra.

The Overuse of Words

Overusing words can cause writing and daily conversations to get boring fast. There are only so many times you can read or hear the same word before you start to check out. There’s a list of commonly overused words that should be “dead” and said is one of them.

But we can’t just stop with telling our students not to use the word said. We can’t expect them to be better writers if we don’t first help them expand their vocabulary. Synonyms are the perfect place to start.

How to Teach Synonyms for Said

Of course, we can break out an old grammar lesson explaining what a synonym is and how to find one. But how boring would that be? Not to mention that it would not be very meaningful or impactful for your students. You need to create a moment where students are fully engaged.

If they really understand what you are teaching them, they are much more likely to apply the skill in their writing. Here are 3 of my favorite ways to teach synonyms for said.

Synonyms & Dialogue Slideshow

This is a fun take on an old synonym grammar lesson. It’s a short story called Did You Hear What They Said at the Zoo? In this silly story, the animals at the zoo are playing a game saying as many said synonyms as they can come up with.

The story is told in rhyming couplets, is filled with great alliteration, and has beautiful illustrations. Your students will be completely enthralled in the story without even realizing how much they are learning. It’s a win-win and the perfect introduction to teaching synonyms for said to your class.

Synonyms for Said Practice

We all know how much kids LOVE to write dialogue in their stories, but it can be challenging for many of them. They need tons of practice using synonyms correctly. I have found task cards to be an effective way to do this.

I love this set of 40 task cards that provides students will lots of practice using synonyms for the word “said” appropriately. The cards each contain a picture and a sentence using the word. Students will select the correct synonym from the 4 provided choices.

Once they are done students can rewrite the sentence using the better word to see how the sound and feel of the sentence changes. As an extension, you can have students choose 3 – 5 of the said synonyms and write their own sentences.

These task cards are great for adding to independent stations or for a whole class game of Scoot! I’ve also used them during small group instruction so I can make sure students learn and understand these new vocabulary words.

Writing Prompts

Now that your kids have been introduced to synonyms for said and had some time to practice using them correctly in a sentence, it’s time for a writing prompt. I love to use fun pictures and questions for their prompts.

This FREE set of 25 photo writing prompts is called Did You Hear What They Said? and is a really FUN way to get kids writing dialogue with their new vocabulary.

Your kids will love writing about what the dancing bear would be saying using synonyms for said. They’ll also get a kick out of writing dialogue between two snails. They’ll focus on quotation marks and using synonyms for said correctly.

The entire set brings fun and is the perfect way to check their understanding. They’ll be begging you for more prompts every day.

Synonyms for Said All in One Spot

Ready to get started teaching synonyms for said? This Said is Dead Alternative Activity Bundle includes all of the activities we discussed above.

You will have everything you need to introduce, and practice synonyms for said in a fun and engaging way. Your students will learn to write and punctuate dialogue using synonyms for the word said. You’ll quickly notice how much more fluent and interesting their sentences become. The bundle includes:

  • Dialogue and Synonyms for Said Task Cards
  • Dialogue and Synonyms for Said Slideshow
  • Writing Dialogue Photo Writing Prompts

Your students will gain the knowledge and confidence they need to bump up their writing fluency. Grab it now!

Save it for Later

Be sure to save this pin to your favorite board so you’ll be all set and ready to go with teaching synonyms for said.

Help your students learn fun and exciting synonyms for the word said with these engaging activities they will love.

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hey y'all

I'm Susan!

I’m Susan Morrow and I help overwhelmed teachers create thinking classrooms where students discover the joy in learning and achieving.

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