The Importance of a Word Journal in Building a Strong Vocabulary Foundation
Vocabulary is one of the keys to becoming a fluent reader. A student who has a rich vocabulary will read more fluently and find reading much more pleasing. Spelling is also a part of learning vocabulary. A spelling or word journal is an excellent way to help each student’s vocabulary knowledge grow.
A word journal is something that can follow a student from year to year. If it is started in the first grade it can move on to the second and each year from there if the student takes good care of their journal.
Creating the Journal:
The best format to use is a three ring binder so that pages can be inserted where they need to be.
Start out using dividers to divide each letter of the alphabet. Place lined paper between the dividers.
The first of the year create a word chest. This is simple, it can be a box covered in paper or just an old Kleenex box. Be creative and come up with something fun. When students hear words they are unfamiliar with, have heard but don’t know the meaning of, or words they think their classmates might not know they write them on a piece of paper and place it in the word chest. This is done on a daily basis.
When it is time for vocabulary lessons the teacher takes the new words out of the word chest. The teacher tells the new word to the students who add them to their journal. As a class, discuss the new word and see if the students have heard it before and if any of them know what it means.
How to Use the Journal:
As the students learn a word, have them put it in their word journal. The word is not just placed there. The students then define the word, break it into syllables and use the word in a sentence. Spelling words are added to the journal along with words from the word chest.
The students turn their vocabulary book in at the end of the week so the teacher can make sure they are entering their words properly. The teacher puts a check mark or some distinguishing mark next to each entry so that he or she does not have to check that entry again.
When the student is writing a paper or reading a story he or she can look in the journal for an unfamiliar word or, if he or she runs across an unfamiliar word that is not in the journal, it can be added, defined and used in a sentence.
Students retain the information best when entering it into the journal on their own. The journals are always there for them to use or read. It can follow them from grade to grade. Every year new words are added to further enhance the student’s vocabulary and build a strong word knowledge foundation which in turn helps with comprehension and fluency.
Picture by Google.com
About Kim Miller
I am a single mom of two sons, 15 and 18 years old. I also have an 8 month old grandson. I recently earned my BA in Elementary Education and am working toward an MA in Elementary Education. I love working with children and watching them learn.