Vocabulary Strategies to Help Kids Read

Teaching Vocabulary Helps Kids Read

Vocabulary is one of five core components of reading instruction that are essential to successfully teach children how to read. Vocabulary knowledge is important because it encompasses all the words, we must know to access our background knowledge, express our ideas, and communicate effectively, and learn about new concepts. Since students’ word knowledge is linked strongly to academic success it makes sense for teachers to implement effective strategies to strengthen student vocabulary.  

6 Easy Vocabulary Strategies

Vocabulary Drawings -Vocabulary drawings link a rhyming word with a visual in the form of a student drawing.  Ex. house/mouse.  A student can draw a picture of a house with a mouse on it.

Pre and Post Concept Checks – If your lesson is heavy on vocabulary, this strategy is easy to prepare and works great.

  • Ahead of time, pull out the terms that are most important.
  • Have students rate their understanding of the terms using a rating scale. (know it well, not sure, no idea)
  • By checking the answers by collecting the assignment or circulating through the room, you can adapt lesson accordingly.
  • After the lesson, have students re-rate their understanding by writing an explanation or drawing a picture.

Frontload Difficult Vocabulary -Present the words prior to the lesson and ask students to brainstorm various meanings.  If need be, simply give them the meaning. This is especially successful for students with limited background knowledge and/or ENL students.

Classifying and Categorizing -Classifying and categorizing vocabulary words are important skills for comprehension and application.  One variation is to sort terms with meanings. Another is to give students all the terms and ask them to create categories for groups they created.

Interactive Word Wall -As students learn new vocabulary words, add them to a Word Wall. The Word Wall can then be used to connect learning, using a magnetized board with magnets on the back of the vocabulary words allows for easy movement. See some of the examples below:

  • Choose a word and ask students to use it in a sentence.
  • Choose a word and ask student to name a rhyming word.
  • Find the word that begins with the letter D.
  • Give a definition and have students choose which word you describe.
  • Find all the words that begin with a letter.
  • Find all the words with 3 letters.
  • Ask them to alphabetize a small group of words.

Word Hunt -Prior to reading a passage, ask partnered students to preview the pages and identify any vocabulary words that may be confusing.  This engages them in discussion and teams them to find out the new meanings. 

Expanding a child’s vocabulary helps increase their background knowledge and helps them express their ideas more effectively.

Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.

Isn’t education All about reaching the kids in the classroom and at home?

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