Semantic Feature Analysis

This prereading strategy teaches vocabulary by activating prior knowledge, making predictions, and by classifying the new words by their features using a matrix.

Cold-blooded Warm-blooded Vertebrates Invertebrates Has legs No legs Lays eggs
Sand Dollar              
  1. The teacher selects a list of words that have similarities and places them on the matrix in the left-hand column.
  2. The teacher then writes features associated with these words across the top of the matrix, or asks the students to supply the features associated with these words.
  3. The students complete the matrix by placing a check in the column if the word has that feature. Accept all predictions.
  4. Once the matrix is complete and the students have discussed the reasons for their answers, the students should then read the assigned passage.
  5. Students review the matrix for any necessary changes.


Anders, P., & Bos, C. "Semantic feature analysis: An interactive strategy for vocabulary development and text comprehension." Journal of Reading, 1986. 29(7): pp.610-616.

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