Vocabulary in Mr. Harding's Class

How you, the parents, can help your children with vocabulary

Is Vocabulary Important?

I believe that having an extensive vocabulary is very important. It is the offspring of reading, and by that I mean when students read often they are exposed to words they've never seen or heard before; words that could help them express themselves or describe something in an accurate way. This is why it is so important for you to encourage your kids to read at home. We can only cover so much in class. I have made this newsletter to show you what we are doing in class so that we could all be on the same page, and maybe I could give you some ideas on ways that you can help at home.

Academic Vocabulary

Academic vocabulary is a lot of what your children learn everyday in school. Academic vocabulary is all of the content-specific words that are required in order for students to read content material (social studies texts, math texts, scholarly articles, etc.) fluently and understand what it means.

How I Model Vocabulary Importance

I always strive to use "ten-dollar" words and not "one-dollar" words. This is how we in the classroom describe the quality of the descriptiveness in the words they use. For example, instead of saying the movie was cool (one-dollar word), say the movie was phenomenal and the scenes were action-packed and left me breathless (ten-dollar words).

I also publicly praise your children in class when they say or write exquisite sentences. I also incorporate discussion in as many activities as possible. When we read as a class, I have the students turn to their shoulder-buddy and talk about why they think the main character made a certain choice, and would they have made a similar choice if they were the main character? These things just encourage children to talk more about their feelings and thoughts, and they help them use some academic vocabulary also.

Vocabulary Activities

These are some vocabulary-building activities that your children do in class.


Cloze

This is an activity where I will provide a paragraph of information that is all related to the same topic (maybe a paragraph from our science textbook that talks about different forces or something of that nature) and several of the key words have been deleted from the text. I provide a word box with the key words and, using context clues, the students have to figure out where to put each word. This is great because it really gets the students to read between the lines and figure out what the author is trying to explain.


Predicting the ABC's

This is an activity where I put students into teams and together they, based on the title of the story, or chapter, that we are about to read, predict some of the words they think will be reading. This is great because it gets students thinking about how several words can be related and connected to a single topic.

Closing

Now that I've given you all some insight on what your children are doing in class to help improve their vocabulary, I hope you will also encourage them to keep continuing to read and take note of the importance of vocabulary at home.

Thanks for reading!

Mr. Harding