What is vocabulary

Vocabulary is extremely important for students and is essential to reading comprehension. Vocabulary refers to the words that students must understand to read and communicate. 

Words can be learned indirectly or through direct instruction. Most vocabulary words are learned indirectly. That means they are learned through a student's everyday experiences as they encounter oral or written language. Other words are learned through thoughtfully designed educational activities. 

There are four types of vocabulary. 


Grocery store VOCABULARY

The produce section is a great place to hear new and interesting words. Words like rhubarb, asparagus, artichoke, and kiwi are fun to say, and fun to eat. As you introduce each one, use descriptive words to help your child learn. "A kiwi has a fuzzy outside, but the inside is bright green with black seeds!" (Resource: Reading Rockets Vocabulary)

read with your child every day 

Reading aloud exposes your child to lots of vivid language that is not found in books for beginning readers. When you come upon a new and interesting word, take the time to stop and ask your child what they think that word might mean in the context of the story. Then offer a kid-friendly definition of the word and connect it to a similar word and a shared experience. (Resource: Reading Rockets Vocabulary)

homonym fun

Homonyms - words that sound the same but have different meanings - provide a great opportunity for word fun. Say a word out loud, and see if your child can generate more than one meaning for the word. For example: 

bark: the sound a dog makes

bark: the covering on a tree

ring: jewelry you wear on your finger

ring: the sound a doorbell makes

(Resource: Reading Rockets)

Consider the prefix

Numeric prefixes like bi- and tri- are a part of many words kids know and use. Discuss words like tricycle, triceratops, triangle. All these words share the prefix tri-, which means three. Can they develop a list of words that begin with the prefix bi- (like bicycle and binoculars)? This gives you a great chance to introduce new words, like bicentennial, bicep, and biped. You can generate similar word lists with the numeric prefixes uni, octo, and cent. (Resource: Reading Rockets)