Words, Words, Words. Wondrous Words.

How do you teach and increase a young learner's vocabulary?  This can be a challenge when teaching children whose primary language is not English or whose vocabulary is limited. But, it can be done.

This school year, I am trying to incorporate meaningful ways to reinforce the vocabulary words from our reading program.

In order to achieve this, I created this bunting with our vocabulary for each week.  This serves as a visual reminder of the words which we have learned.

Typically, we learn a new word each day.  We use the provided vocabulary picture card to teach the word.  We say and repeat the word a few times.  Then, we look at the picture and try to figure out what the word may mean. I, then, explain the vocabulary word and ask for other examples from the students.

It is amazing how engaged the class is during the part of the day.  Many students volunteer to share stories trying to use the new word in context.  As they do, I am informally noting which children comprehend and can use the vocabulary word.

At times, the vocabulary words allows use to discuss words which have multiple meanings like the word change; seen in the first photograph.  My students did not have much background knowledge about the word change when it meant to become something different; like the changing of seasons.  Yet, most understood the word change when referenced to money or when changing clothes because you had an accident.

Every day, we are building our vocabulary.  My hope is that by the end of the year, each child's academic vocabulary will have grown.  How do you teach vocabulary? Do you have a list of words per grade to teach?  More importantly, how do you grade vocabulary development using the Common Core standards?

Happy Teaching!
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.


  1. I usually just write interesting words on a sticky notes and attach them to the alphabet chart. I can still see that big smile on a little freckled face last year when one my boys said, "Teacher, I DEVOURED that Popsicle!" I love your display -- a lot cuter than my sticky notes! We don't have a list -- I just choose them from the stories I read.

  2. I do the same thing as the author, but my list is not as cute. :) I use adding machine tape that is taped onto my closet. We add a word as we come across it in our reading. We do not have a prescribed list.


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