Isn’t it exciting watching our students as they’re learning to read and actually comprehend what they’re reading? Once a child can read independently and absorb what they are reading, it becomes fun for them and opens the door to endless learning opportunities. When we bring in writing instruction that supports and integrates with reading skills, it all comes together.
Helping our students make progress towards becoming independent readers and writers can feel like a complex task – and it is! But when you break it down, the foundation for reading is all about building word accuracy and fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.
Consistently teaching new vocabulary helps develop the other building blocks, and also helps kids extend their overall success across the curriculum.
Daily Vocabulary Practice is Vital
Vocabulary instruction is so important to student learning across the curriculum. Dedicated vocabulary practice every day can:
- Help students make connections across words they know and don’t know
- Build student’s prior knowledge about a subject
- Give students a richer visualization when they connect meaning to words
- Reinforce understanding of parts of speech and word origins
- Expand verbal and written language skills.
The 3 Cs
Here are 3 important ways building vocabulary helps students become better readers, writers, and better learners all around:
Connecting words with their meaning, and finding patterns and through direct vocabulary strategies in key. Vocabulary is the gateway to comprehension. If our kids can sound out words, or even read them with ease but don’t understand the meaning behind those words then they have accuracy and possibly fluency, but they aren’t able to really understand what they’re reading. When we introduce our students to new words in context, we’re giving them understanding, and they will be able to apply that understanding in deeper ways as they improve.
Teaching vocabulary also helps with our students’ ability to communicate. Listening and speaking vocabulary is connected to reading and writing vocabulary. As kids understand the meaning of more words, they can then explain what they want or need, and communicate more clearly. They can also understand and follow directions, receive clarity, and make important connections when they hear words in context.
As you help your students expand their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence will improve as well. I love those lightbulb moments when students realize that the words they are surrounded with in the classroom have meaning and purpose. Celebrating when students independently find vocabulary words in their day to day life, or use them correctly while speaking throughout the day (not just during the vocabulary lesson) is a fun strategy to encourage a love for learning that will stick with them as they move on out of your classroom.
Resources to enhance vocabulary instruction in your classroom
There are all kinds of fun and engaging ways to introduce vocabulary to students. Having picture cards and vocabulary word centers will give students the daily independent reading practice they need. Students should also be practicing writing new vocabulary as well. I have created some new resources to help you introduce new vocabulary writing in your classroom.
Vocabulary Writing Practice
- The first resource is a set of themed vocabulary cards. My favorite way to use these is in a writing center. These vocabulary cards can be put on rings to make it easier to keep all the cards together in one place. The writing cards can also be displayed on a smartboard for the entire class to see during whole-group time. There are 60 themes to choose from so your students will have plenty of variety!
- The second bundle is a set of themed writing pages. These come with either primary or secondary lines depending on what you prefer for your students.. Each writing page has six pictures with the word written below the picture at the top of the page. Underneath the pictures there are lines for students to write a story based on the theme and vocabulary words they are given. I have also included those all important self directed prompts to remind students to circle capital letters and punctuation and to use their finger as a guide to space out their words.
I know both of these resources will be a fun and useful addition to your classroom this school year. Students will love the bright colors and fun pictures and you will enjoy ready to go resources that will allow you to teach vocabulary with ease!
Building strong vocabulary skills in our younger students brings so much understanding later on in the learning process. I hope these resources help meet the needs of your students as they grow into strong readers and writers.
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