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Why This is Important

Vocabulary is the students’ knowledge of and memory for word meanings. A strong vocabulary improves all areas of communication—listening, speaking, reading, and writing. 

Goals for Strong Readers

  • Learn and use new words through various activities. 
  • Build a large receptive vocabulary (words students understand when they are read or spoken to).   
  • Enhance expressive vocabulary (words students know well enough to use in speaking and writing). 

Quick Activity

Helps with speaking and listening

Think of a word and don’t tell your child what it is. Have your child ask you yes or no questions about the word in order to figure it out. Once your child has correctly guessed the word, switch roles. 

More Activities and Games

Use this vocabulary word list for the next three activities.

Write vocabulary words on pieces of paper. Fold the pieces of paper and place in a bowl. Take turns picking a vocabulary word and acting it out without talking. 

Come up with a word of your choice and write it on a piece of paper (Example: beautiful). Brainstorm five words that mean the same or are similar to that word (example: pretty, gorgeous, stunning, good-looking, cute). Write each word on a separate small piece of paper. Have your child put the words in order based on its shade of meaning (Example: cute, pretty, good-looking, beautiful, gorgeous, stunning). 

Sample word prompts: slow, quick, ugly, happy, shy, angry, small, large, strict, enjoy 

Use a color marker to write down 5-10 vocabulary words that have antonyms (words with opposite meanings) on squares of paper or sticky notes. Arrange the words on a wall, table, or floor.  Have  your  child write the antonym with another color marker to post beside the word you wrote. 

Example: amateur and professional. 

Descriptive Sentences
Helps with writing

Say a simple sentence, such as, A dog walks. Have your child write down the sentence. Then, have your child rewrite the sentence with descriptive details. Push your child to add more and more details to the sentence by asking, who, what, when, where, why, how, and which questions.


  • A dog walks.
  • A big dog walks to the beach.
  • A big dog walks to the beach to play fetch.
  • A big dog walks to the beach on Saturday to play fetch.