Vocabulary is one of the most important parts of a student’s reading foundation. The more words as student recognizes and knows, the better a student will be at comprehension. If a student knows that the word prairie means a large open area of grassland he or she will better understand the content of a book when it reads “the family moved to a house on the prairie.” If the child has no clue what a prairie is he or she cannot picture the story and will spend time thinking about the word instead of the content. A vocabulary journal is an organized way to help a student broaden his or her vocabulary and will serve as a reference as long as needed.
At the first of the year give the student s a binder with paper inside. Have them place headings on the pages. For example, the first page is “A”, the next is “B” and so on until they have headed all of the pages with the alphabet. They will write their words on the pages with the headings. They use a binder so they can add pages as they fill the ones that they already have.
Throughout the year the students will be filling their vocabulary journal with words. Each week the teacher will give them ten words to add to their journal, the students must look up the words in the dictionary and define them. They also use the words in a sentence. This helps to make sure they understand the word. The students also add any new word they hear and want to clarify to their journal.
The class will go over the weekly words together to make sure that they have been defined and used correctly.
The class will have a box in the front for new words. This box can be called a word treasure chest. Each day the kids place words in the treasure chest. Then at a certain time of the day the teacher takes the words out, the words are discussed as a class and added to the journal.
At the end of each week the teacher will check each journal and place a mark next to each word for that week to mark that the weeks vocabulary has been completed.
The vocabulary journal serves as a way for kids to learn new words and a reference when they forget those words or need to know how to spell them in the future.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.
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.