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10 Tips to Help you Increase Vocabulary in your Classroom

10 Tips to Help you Increase Vocabulary in your Classroom

10 Tips to Help you Increase Vocabulary in your Classroom

  • Wednesday 20 November 2019

Boosting vocabulary can be a struggle in primary school. Teachers know the importance of developing children’s ability in spoken and written language, which allows pupils to express their thoughts and feelings while also helping to enhance reading comprehension skills and strategies.

One of the most important aspects of developing children’s language is their vocabulary; the words they use to communicate and the words they can comprehend and understand. When children write, they can express their ideas through a range of vocabulary. The majority of children’s growth in vocabulary comes from organic sources, such as having conversations or reading books and those that are read to them.

There are, however, some ways to help children to learn new vocabulary. Here are some approaches to building children’s vocabulary in the classroom:


Display interesting words

A great way to start helping children understand any interesting or unknown words they come across in the classroom, in conversations, books they read or words they may hear on television or radio is by creating a display of words. The words displayed can then form a class discussion, where pupils can talk about their thoughts on each of the words and their understanding of the words displayed. Each week, the words change, giving the pupils new opportunities to discuss new words and broaden their vocabulary.


Take time with choosing new words

Taking the time to choose the right words to introduce to your pupils is important. One of the most popular methods of teaching vocabulary in the classroom is selecting a small group of words you would like to introduce to your pupils. Try choosing a topic to start with or words that will be useful to the pupils in everyday life and language. This way it will be more beneficial to the pupils, rather than choosing fascinating words that would seldom be used in their writing. 


Word webs

Creating a word web can help pupils to think about the meaning of words they may not have been aware of. It allows them to think carefully about words and can see how they are connected to words they may already know.


Reading challenges

Choose a topic and a piece of well written text for the pupils. The pupils should read this text in preparation for their reading challenge lesson. Choose words within the text that the pupils must learn for homework. This not only helps the pupils build up their vocabulary by learning new words related to different topics, but it also allows them to read the words in context to better understand them and grow their vocabulary which helps them create a wider understanding.


Play language games

Create a word of the day or week, which could come from a particular topic that is being studied within the class. Allow the pupils time to read, spell and say the word and search the meaning of the word. Give them the opportunity to put the word into their own sentence and write their own definition as to what they think the meaning of the word is. There are amazing language games that you can play with the pupils, such as charades, Pictionary™ and Taboo®, all of which can be easily adapted to fit the classroom and the class word bank.


Word collection

For a pupil, learning the meaning of one word individually, can be more difficult than you might think. The context in a word and the way it is written is very important. For instance, ‘date’ might refer to a specific day within a month, but it could also refer to the fruit or it could refer to a couple going out to the cinema or food, as a date. The language used in conversation is rather different to that used in books. Many of the new words that pupils will learn, will come from the books they read rather than from vocabulary teaching. That is why the context within each word while reading, is very important for the pupil to understand new words.


Think about phrases

 Just because your pupils understand a word on its own, doesn’t mean they will understand it once placed into a sentence, such as a phrase. For instance, your pupils may know the meaning of the word ‘sitting’, they may also know the meaning of the word ‘fence’, but when those words are put together into a phrase, they may not know the meaning of ‘sitting on the fence’.


Explore morphology

Morphemes are the smallest units of grammar. Morphemes have roots, roots are the principle that give the words their meaning. For example, a root in the word unbelievable is [belief], the prefix is [un] and the suffix is [able]. Putting them together creates words that carry a precise meaning [unbelievable]. Learning some of the basic, most popular morphemes can help pupils understand the meaning of many words.


Take time to engage in speaking and listening activities

Taking advantage of using rhymes, role play, talk groups/partners, or drama can allow the pupils to explore new vocabulary. Give the pupils a word bank of words that have recently been used in class; this allows you to listen to the pupils and see if they truly understand the meaning of words that have previously been studied during lessons. Observing the pupils carefully can result in the pupils gaining a large growth of vocabulary, and will encourage them to continue to both learn and use words they would not have originally used when communicating.


Give pupils a real reason to communicate with others

Give pupils the opportunity to write letters/emails to a person of their choice, whether a pupil in the classroom or a family member. Alternatively, have the pupils present to the class a particular topic they have researched. Allow them to learn and communicate in real life scenarios. This is important for them to learn and expand their vocabulary by using it in ordinary activities.


Are you tired of using the same Tired words in your classroom?

We are here to help! We will be publishing a new synonym on our social media, every day for the next 20 days to help you improve and expand vocabulary in your classroom. Follow along by clicking here.


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