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Semantic feature analysis (SFA) is an effective strategy for demonstrating relationships among

concepts within a category, as well as the uniqueness of each word (Pittelman, Heimlich,
Berglund, & French, 1991). It can be used with individuals or with groups of students using
expository or narrative text. The semantic features analysis strategy may be used:
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develop motivation;
develop vocabulary conceptshe students list each word under the appropriate category;
develop and activate prior knowledge;
summarize and review information.

The following steps are used in the SFA strategy:

1. Select a category.
SFAs can be constructed for most categories of words. With students new to this procedure, it
best to select categories that are concrete and familiar. The category word can be a vocabulary
word or it may be one of the major topics of the story or selection. Write the category in the to
left-hand box of the grid.

2. List words in the category.
List three or four words that name concepts or objects related to the category down the left sid
of the grid.

3. Add features.
Write three or four features (traits, characteristics, properties) of the category across the top o
the grid. Start with only a few features and allow students to add more later.

p a plus (+) sign in the box. allowing the students to do most of the completion and analysis of the grid and eventually to take an active role in planning the grid a selecting the words and features to be compared. noting the similarities and differences among t words. Discuss the grid. put a minus (-) sign in th box. Determine feature possession. Guide students through the matrix. Students complete the grid either individually. Once the students are familiar with this technique. Students add more words that fit the category and features that apply to those words. Add more words and features. 6. or in a small group. put a question mark in the box. with a learning partner. Discussion is an integral part of this procedure. The question mark serves as place holder. allowing discussion to continue while marking an area that will require investigati 5.4. Ask them which words in the categories seem to be the most alike (share the most common features) and which ones seem to be the most different. Add the to the grid. they make judgments about the words. . If the students are unsure. Guide them in making generalizations as well as in noting the unique features of words. if it does not usually possess that feature. 7. Students examine the completed grid carefully. The can use reference books and other sources to find the answers for the boxes marked with question marks. the teacher can serve as a facilitator. asking them to decide if the word on the left of the grid ha each of the features listed across the top. As students examine and discuss the finished grid. Complete the grid. If the students decide that it usually has a feature.