Techniques for Teaching Vocabulary to Kids

Are you currently struggling to help your class learn new vocabulary, or simply seeking out a few tips? If you are, read on for a handful of helpful tips and techniques for teaching vocabulary to kids.

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How to Help Your Students Increase Their Vocabulary

Get Your Class Interested and Involved

Learning vocabulary can sometimes become boring for students if the only techniques you use to teach it involve the rote memorization of definitions. Although vocabulary workbooks are useful, if this is all your class does, it can get tedious at times. If you notice that some of your students groan when you mention vocabulary, you may want to try out something new, like one of the activities below.

Break Down and Learning New Words

One method for teaching vocabulary is to have your students make a word map for each new word you give them. In addition to writing down the definition, students could include synonyms, antonyms and a sentence using the word on the map. The process of making a word map will help your students remember definitions. Allow each student to use their individual imagination when creating word maps.

Teach your students common roots, suffixes and prefixes. When they have memorized word parts, they can often figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words without using a dictionary. When teaching word parts, games can be quite useful. Mix up a few word parts on a white board and have your students throw a sticky ball at multiple parts to form various words.

Learn Vocabulary through Reading

Fostering a reading-positive classroom environment can be quite helpful. Stock your room with books that are not only for class, but also for the students' personal enjoyment. Your class can even help you choose what books to order from a grade level and age-appropriate book list. Have a quiet reading time each every day during which students can choose what they want to read. Even magazines and comics can be very useful when it comes to learning words.

Talk to your class about understanding new terms based on how they're used in a context. Create examples by going over texts in front of the class and discussing how words relate to one another. During reading time, occasionally sit with different students individually and help them practice this exercise.

Incorporate Vocabulary into the Classroom Environment

You may want to incorporate vocabulary words into your everyday speech to the class. Naturally, students - and people in general - tend to gain a larger vocabulary by interacting with others who use new words. When you're teaching a list of vocabulary words to your students, consider the ways each word is used in conversation, daily affairs or in unique situations.

To foster a visual reference, create a word wall in your classroom to log new words. For each word you post, draw a picture next to it. In addition, hang posters of synonyms around the room. The headings on each poster can be common words, such as 'go,' 'good' and 'say'. Anytime your students find a descriptive synonym for one these words, they can write it on the appropriate poster.

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