Top 8 Vocabulary Learning Tips
This may sound dramatic but I believe vocabulary is essential to daily life.
That is why effective vocabulary learning materials is crucial! We need to have strong vocabulary skills to exceed in school, form & maintain relationships, meet daily needs, share feelings...the list goes on!
Keep reading to learn my top 8 vocabulary learning tips and grab some free materials!
Most children pick up vocabulary like a sponge just by going through life. However, for some, vocabulary learning is not natural. They often don't know nearly as many words as they need to and to make matters worse, they don't have a complete understanding of the words they do know!
These children NEED direct instruction for vocabulary. By direct instruction, I mean more than reading a definition or completing a few synonym/antonym task. These children the complete picture. Keep reading to find out how to accomplish this task.
This may seem obvious but many don't actually give the definitions to vocabulary words!
Instead, we grab materials from TPT or Boom Cards and do a vocabulary game hoping the child already has an idea of a what word means. Maybe we do a synonym task. The child makes a mistake. We correct it and move on.
But think about it....did the child learn the definition yet? Probably not.
So, let's cover our bases and teach the definition directly!
Now....once a child learns the definition, do some synonym and antonym tasks. They are awesome. They expand a child's knowledge of a word and how the word relates to other words. It starts to create a strong web of knowledge which is make it easier for the child to recall a word in the future.
A very popular memory strategy is to "picture" what you want to remember. That way, when you need to recall something, you can think of the picture. (i.e., picture a bag of flour, next to a gallon of milk and a cup of sugar when you are trying to remember your shopping lists).
When you find pictures that illustrate a vocabulary word, you are accomplishing the same task. Have a child find pictures that make their new vocabulary word "come to life."
4. Looks Like/Does/Location/Parts
Expanding Expression Tool is a very popular program to help with learning vocabulary. It helps to paint a picture of a "complete" definition of a vocabulary word. I LOVE it and USE it all the time.
For nouns, I have children tell me what a word "looks like," "does," "where you can find it," and "describe parts."
5. Make a Sentence
Have the child make a sentence using a vocabulary word!
This task will show you a lot about where the child is in their learning! Check to see if the child can do it (obviously). If they can't, look closely at their mistakes. Where are the holes in their understanding?
6. Looks Like To You
Have the child draw what the words looks like to them!
This is a crucial step to solidifying their understanding! Have the child make their own image of what the words means.
7. Apply To Your Life
This can be done in many ways.
- Ask the child to share a story about the vocabulary words (i.e., When have you felt "chilly?")
- Complete a naming tasks (i.e., Name things in your "community.")
- Ask a reasoning questions (i.e., Why are people "sarcastic?")
My favorite way to check for understanding and review learning is to read! So easy!
Pick a book and start reading. Try to find the vocabulary word in the book. If the word isn't listed explicitly, you can weave it into to the story.
For example, let's say that you just taught the word "lazy." While reading a book, pause and ask the child if a character is being "lazy" and "why/why not?"
8. Review and Repeat
Wait a few days or weeks and review the previously learned words. Check to see if they child has retained the information. If not, repeat steps 1-7!
Free Vocabulary Learning Materials
I have been busy making teletherapy materials that can be used for both remote and in-person learning.
Google slides seems to do the trick.
- I can share slides remotely. Obviously!
- For in person, I have been using an extra screen. I place the screen on the table and control it from my computer. The client and I talk about the slides. This way I save lots of trees!
For a free sample click the link below,
For members, you can access the following materials by clicking the link below
To become a member (it is easy and affordable, click the link below