I often get asked, ‘So if you’re not a fan of cloze, what else do you suggest?’
I am a fan of cloze when the purpose is best fulfilled by its use. So often cloze activities are given to students because they are poor or reluctant writers and there’s a danger that their use does nothing to develop the skills that these students lack.
Many people who claim they are poor spellers actually spell most of the word correctly. It’s usually one or two letters in the word that cause angst. I will call this part of the word, ‘the tricky bit’. So, if using a cloze activity to assist with spelling, omit the letters around the tricky bit and this forces students to focus on these.
The activity on pages 180/81 of Hooking Students Into Learning … in all curriculum areas (click on the page image for a full size preview) shows how to omit the letters in words that challenge poor spellers.
For example, in the word ‘environment’ it is the first ‘n’ that is often omitted.
Therefore, a clever cloze activity with this word looks like this. The Antarctic envi____ment is extremely challenging for living creatures.Students have to think about the whole word and the letters that are missing.
A cloze activity that has been chosen deliberately to focus on the ‘tricky bit’ of a word therefore it is valid.
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