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I’ve always loved words. There is something delicious about words like pugnacious or boondoggle isn’t there?! Most children also like to use “big” words and will be delighted to learn how to use words like spectacular or Eureka!
Building our Kinders vocabulary is important. A good vocabulary gives our students a huge advantage. Reading, writing, and comprehension will all benefit from a good grasp of words. Did you know that a child’s vocabulary is a key component to reading success?
Vocabulary Activities and the Common Core
The Common Core standards for Kindergarten touch on the importance of building vocabulary.
- RL.K.4: Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
- L.K.4.A Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).
- .L.K.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
Vocabulary activities help children of all ages learn and expand their vocabulary. First and foremost, they are fun. But they also provide an opportunity to introduce words in an informal manner.
What Is A Vocabulary Activity?
A vocabulary activity is anything that helps kids improve their knowledge of words. They must also learn when and how to use these words. They can include games, worksheets, or word projects. The trick is to make learning fun and keep the kids engaged.
What Are Fun Ways To Introduce Vocabulary?
Word of the Week
You can introduce Kinders to so many words in this way. Choose a fun word that most of your Kinders will not know. Don’t be afraid to use tier 2 words like lovely or gigantic. Write the word and post it somewhere in the classroom. Read the word aloud and explain what it means. Challenge the students to use the word as often as they can in the coming week. Model this yourself.
- The pictures in our book are quite lovely!
- Look at that gigantic cloud.
You could ham it up by inviting children to raise their arms and cheer every time they hear the word used!
Read, Read and Read Some More
Read aloud to your students every day. Expose students to a wide range of vocabulary by choosing both fiction and non-fiction books. Pick out some of these words ahead of time, print them on index cards and add them to your word wall. After you have read the pick go back and highlight the words you have chosen. Read them and ask the children to repeat them back to you. Talk about the meanings. Challenge your Kinders to create sentences that use the word.
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Make Word Wall
A word wall is a collection of words that are displayed in a prominent place in your classroom. To learn more about word walls check out the post here and here.
One of the best way to teach vocabulary in Kindergarten is through play. Short games engage Kinder’s minds the same way playing does. It also teaches them new words they can add to their vocabulary. Here are two ideas
What’s in the box
Flash card games
Create Vocabulary Notebooks
Notebooks are fun to create and give Kinders a place to record new words that delight them. We have created a few printable pages to help create these notebooks. All the pages are editable, so you can customize them to reflect the words you are using. This is particularly useful if you are working on a specific theme.
If you want the worksheets to keep the same font, you will need to have KG penmanship installed. You can download this font for free here. Install it BEFORE opening the PDF. The boxes adjust the size of the font automatically. The longer the word or sentence, the smaller the font will become.
There are three activities.
A page for children to write new words they have encountered. Children can choose words from the word bank if they wish. You can choose if you want students to list the new words or choose one specific word and write a definition. The word bank is fully editable
There is another page that invites children to draw a picture of what the word means to them. Drawing a definition helps to ensure that students understand the meaning. They won’t be able to draw a picture if they don’t comprehend it. This avoids the trap of copying out a definition without fully understanding it.
Children need to practice using words in context so that they can learn when and how to use them. The last page has a fill in the blank sentence. They must read the sentence and choose a word from the word bank to finish it. Again, the sentences and the word banks are fully editable.
How Do You Practice New Vocabulary In Kindergarten?
Once your child learns a word the work has just begun. It will be forgotten if they stop using or hearing it. That is why practice is so important. Keep your Kinders using the words they have learned while having fun with new ones. Be intentional with your vocabulary activities. Keep the words alive by continually using them alongside the new ones. This will keep the word alive and give them a little boost of confidence as they find new ways to use it.
How do you help your Kinders learn new words? What are your favorite vocabulary activities? Please leave a comment below.