16 Ideas for Teaching Vocabulary in the Classroom

Are you looking ideas for teaching vocabulary in the classroom? If so, keep reading.

1. Get the student to sequence the learning activities that occurred on a field trip or special event with an emphasis on vocabulary.

2. Throughout the conversation, repeat phrases used by the student, revising the vocabulary to include additional words (e.g., The student says, “The TV show was excellent.” Repeat by saying, “I’m glad the TV show was so entertaining.”).

3. Get the student to write sentences or stories using new words they have learned.

4. Let the student speak without being interrupted or hurried.

5. Ascertain the type of language model the student has at home. Without placing negative connotations on the language model in their home, explain the difference between language that is rich in meaning and language that includes a limited repertoire of vocabulary.

6. Urge the student to use gestures when appropriate to clarify their message. Gestures may also enable the recall of vocabulary the student is having difficulty retrieving.

7. Ask questions that encourage language. Refrain from those that can be answered by ”yes/no” or a nod of the head (e.g., “What did you do at recess?” rather than “Did you play on the slide?” or “Tell me about your vacation.” rather than “Did you remain home over the holidays?” etc.).

8. Explain objects, persons, places, etc., to the student and have them name the things described.

9. Choose relevant and appropriate reading content and have the student underline each unfamiliar word. Create a list of these words and review their meanings with the student until they can use them when speaking.

10. Provide the student a list of words and ask them to tell the opposite of each word.

11. Get the student to paste an image from a publication on one side of a piece of paper and list all of the vocabulary that could be associated with it on the other side (including verbs). Get the student to dictate or write a story about the image using the vocabulary.

12. Discuss the importance of expanding one’s vocabulary (i.e., comprehension and communication are based on the knowledge and use of appropriate/accurate vocabulary).

13. Talk with the student’s parents about the ways in which they can help their child create an expanded speaking vocabulary (e.g., encouraging the student to read the newspaper, novels, magazines, or other learning materials for enjoyment). Emphasize to parents that they can set an excellent example by reading with the student.

14. Show the student where they can go to find decoding words in the classroom library (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, etc.).

15. Get the student to list all the vocabulary they can think of that goes with a specific word (e.g., “space” – astronaut, lunar rover, rocket, shuttle, launch, etc.).

16. Consider viewing our list of vocabulary building apps.

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