Albert and Tiny Dot

story by Caroline Tuohey , illustrated by Amy Golbach

Learning Intention:

I am learning to identify synonyms and antonyms so that I can widen my vocabulary and enhance my written text through increased understanding of tone.

Success Criteria:

  • I can recognise synonyms and antonyms in a text
  • I can create a word cline, arranging words in graduating intensity
  • I can create text with expanded vocabulary


Essential knowledge for teachers:

This learning resource includes references to Word Cline also known as semantic gradients. As a teaching strategy Word Clines are useful in explicitly teaching students how to broaden their vocabulary range and to critically reflect on the choice of words. It also assists students to understand how important word choice is when composing and establishing the tone of a piece. Tone is the voice adopted by a particular speaker to indicate emotion, feeling or attitude to subject matter. (NSW English Syllabus)


Reading and Viewing/ Interpreting, analysing and evaluating.

Ask students to first predict what they think this text will be about. Who do they think Albert will be? What about Tiny Dot?

Explain to the students that they will be expanding their descriptive vocabulary with an understanding of synonyms and antonyms.

As a class, read the first paragraph of the text. Have students find synonyms in this paragraph for little (answers may include dot, tiny, small).

Explain to students that synonyms are words that are similar or have nearly the same meaning as another word.

Ask students to rule up a table so that they can write the words- dot, tiny, small.

To extend the students vocabulary, ask them to use a thesaurus to find 5 synonyms for each and write them down under the word- dot, tiny, small.

Now as a class, explain to students that antonyms are words that have an opposite meaning. Continue reading the text as a class.

Direct students to now find antonyms to the word tiny in the text as the author begins to explain Dots new rescue cat named Albert (answers may include bigger, enormous, gigantic).

Ask the class how Dot made the so-called problems of Alberts’ size a positive. Answers may include;

  • Albert provided blanket services
  • He alerted her to the grocery delivery arrival
  • Dots house was mouse free

Direct students to extend their table under a heading antonyms and ask them to use a thesaurus to find 5 antonyms for dot, tiny and small and write them down under the word.


Writing and Representing/Creating texts:

Discuss with the class that the purpose of a word cline is to extend vocabulary in a visual way that goes from one extreme to another. Explain to students that they are going to create a word cline to describe the difference in size.

On the board, draw an incline and explain to the students that they will each be given two post-it notes. They will use their synonym list to write down a synonym for small (eg. miniscule) and their antonym list to write an antonym for small (eg. gigantic). As a class, arrange the post-it notes along the incline and discuss any variations students would make in regard to the precise meaning of the words and where it sits on the line.

Students can use a thesaurus, to investigate descriptive words that they will use in their word cline and their extended text.

  • Discuss with students that they will now create their own text, using expanded vocabulary and extend their descriptive words with the use of a thesaurus.

Change these sentences from the text, using synonyms for the words in bold.

Rewrite the new sentence.


  • Small: She was small, and so was everything around her.
  • Tiny: She was a tiny
  • Little: Dot lived in a little
  • Enormous: The cat will be enormous.
  • Gigantic: She ordered a gigantic cat scratching post.