Tips for Boosting Vocabulary Skills

Tips for Improving Students' Vocabulary Skills | Remedia Publications
Vocabulary instructions should be both organic and planned. Learning new words shouldn’t be a chore. Spark an interest in students to discover new words by discussing unusual words, talking about the history of words, playing word games, and most importantly read, read, read! Try these five tips, plus free downloads to help boost your students vocabulary.

Read-Aloud Word Discovery
Choose read-aloud books that provide opportunities for vocabulary building.  Find materials that use words from your vocabulary list or that include more advanced words, which will prompt curiosity and give ample exposure to new words.
  • Before reading your selected book, introduce a few words that will be necessary to students’ understanding of the passage. On shorter passages introduce up to three words and on longer passages introduce up to six words. If you need to introduce more words than this, the passage may be inappropriate for your readers' level.
  • Then read the selection without stopping.
  • After your first reading, review four to five words from the text. For each word, reread the text or sentence that the word was in.
  • Point out illustrations, if possible, that will reinforce the meaning and explain the word’s meaning.
  • Use the new words in your daily lessons and when speaking with your students.
  • Write the words on the board so that students can also have a visual of the new words.

Independent Word Discovery
Encourage students to independently learn at least three new words each week.  Give students this worksheet <free download> to complete throughout the week. As students come across words in or out of school they can write the word, the context in which they found the word, what they think the definition is, and then find the definition of the word. At the end of each week, have students get into pairs or small groups to share and teach the new words they learned. Have partners test each other on spelling and definition of the words, which will encourage their partners to also learn the words.

Dead Words Bulletin Board
As your students’ vocabulary grow beyond basic words into a more advanced vocabulary, you can move words like fun and good to the Dead Words Bulletin Board. Write each overused, “dead word” on a tombstone made from gray construction paper with the letters R.I.P. Beneath the “dead word” have student help you add new words that will replace the “dead word”. See example here.

Label Illustrations
 Reinforce students’ knowledge of a word’s meaning by giving students a visual to associate with the word. With our Labeling for Comprehension activities, students read short, interesting descriptions of various objects, such as a camera or a flower, and then demonstrate their understanding by labeling the accompanying illustration according to the description. The activities are an excellent way to build general knowledge and vocabulary, test comprehension, and teach the relationship of parts to the whole and of the whole to its parts.

Dictionary Games
We've put together three fun dictionary games that will help your students gain independence, improve reading skills, and build their vocabulary. Check them out here.

Bonus! Try this <free download> from our Vocabulary Boosters for even more vocabulary building exercises.