What is in a word? What is the importance of vocabulary practice for kids? I would love to tell you…oh just squeeze it in here or there. Truthfully though, children must be immersed in it…all day, every day.
I believe most of that begins a home…but for us teachers…that can be a scary thing. Some of our students don’t have parents home at night (I know, remember…I said scary.) That’s okay though…we can give our children meaningful vocabulary practice all day, every day…and they won’t even realize it. (insert evil teacher laugh) 🙂
I believe the first and most important thing to remember is vocabulary knowledge is the foundation for comprehension success. Our ultimate goal is for children to be strong readers, because with strong reading comes so many things…success in school, social success, confidence, and even speaking and listening skills improve. Without reading success…well, in the words of Meredith Grey…the road is “dark and twisty.”
Now, the question you may be asking is…HOW…HOW do we fit this into our already
busy…I mean slammed schedule?
Exposure. Yep, that’s it exposure.
Guided Reading is a HUGE way to give the kids exposure to vocabulary. With each guided reading lesson I teach…I have a vocabulary portion in my lesson plans…simply choose some words from the text you are reading…and then do a quick mini-lesson with those words. Look at the brief example in one of my plans.
Have the students look at the words, talk about the words, define the words (or try to define them), then discuss the words with them. Have the students use the words in a sentence, draw an example of the word, just expose the students to the words. Honestly, the words won’t stick the first time…they usually don’t; that is okay though…the students will the be at least familiar with the word each time you talk about it during the story. See, simple…but so important!
Another way to immerse the students in vocabulary is through Word Work. Many people feel Word Work is only for younger grades…no way, we even do it with our fifth graders! During Word Work, the students need to be reading (from a book of their choice or a passage you provided is fine.) The point to Word Work is having the students use context to help them with the word.
We have our students find three words a week from their personal reading…then they must write the definition, a synonym and antonym of the word, and use the word in a sentence. The students love doing this because they are finding meaningful vocabulary from their books (that they want to know more about) and then they are learning new words!
We also have our students complete Word Work pages after a reading passage. The words are chosen from the passage based on what we want to students to learn, then the students complete the activity by providing the definition (also helps improve their dictionary skills) and then using the word in a sentence.
One thought on “What is in a Word?”
This comment has been removed by the author.