F: Types of Words

These activities are also available in Romanianro_ro and Dutch .

These activities are suitable for older children, teens and adults who can already read and write to some extent.

F1: The Most Important Words

 Goal: Learn to distinguish between main ideas and side issues.

Needed: one story for the group; pen and paper for each person.


  1. Explain that you are going to tell a story. Everyone should listen carefully and write down the key words of the story. Make sure ahead of time that these are short words.
  2. Practice with the title of the story. What is the most important word? Why?
  3. Tell or read a brief story. Then tell or read it again.
  4. Have each person write down which words they think are the most important.
  5. Then have everyone share the word or words they wrote down – did everyone make the same choice? Discuss any differences. In the story below, person A may have written down ‘hunger’ and person B ‘snack.’ Discuss why that is.
  6. Have someone volunteer to retell the story. Discuss whether this retelling included all the important information. If not, make sure the discussion will not shame or embarrass the person who retold the story. Repeat this with another person if necessary.

Example of a story:

A very small mouse

Upstairs in the attic lives a very small mouse. When he is hungry, he goes to the kitchen for a snack. He slides down the stairs via the banister. There is cheese in the kitchen. Yummy! The little mouse eats as much as he can. Then he goes upstairs again.

But what has happened? The mouse has eaten so much cheese that its belly is really fat. He can’t go upstairs anymore. He has to wait downstairs until his belly gets thin again. He sighs and waits a long time.

Once he can climb upstairs again, he has to choose where he will go. Will he go back to the attic, with his stomach rumbling, or to the kitchen and eat cheese again.

Variation: Have someone other than yourself tell a story. Repeat from point 3.

F2: Run and Do

Goal: Learn to follow written instructions.

Needed: sheets of paper or pieces of cardboard with an assignment written on each one; make sure each assignment includes an action word.

For instance:

  • Water the plants.
  • Place a stone on the windowsill.
  • Go outside.
  • Move over two places.
  • March in place.


  1. Give every one or every small group one of the written instructions.
  2. One person reads out loud what is written on their piece of paper. Help them with that if necessary.
  3. On a certain signal, everyone does that assignment, all at the same time if possible.
  4. Then someone else reads out loud what is written on their piece of paper and everyone carries out that assignment.

Variation: Have a couple of people in the group think up and write down assignments.