Why Kindergarten Vocabulary Activities and Instruction is Important
First, let’s talk about the importance of vocabulary instruction in kindergarten, first grade, and beyond. Here is the science behind vocabulary and comprehension. Reading comprehension starts with listening comprehension.
Mark Seidenberg is a researcher and professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a cognitive scientist, neuroscientist,and psycholinguist who has studied language, reading, and dyslexia for more than 30 years. Dr. Seidenberg tells us that reading comprehension is essentially taking the words on the paper and (even in silent reading) then listening to them. So I will repeat, reading comprehension starts with listening comprehension.
So what happens when students do not have the vocabulary to comprehend what they hear? Some children enter school with a sophisticated vocabulary, while many others have a very rudimentary vocabulary. Those with a limited vocabulary are the ones we worry about. These are the students that keep us up at night.
Vocabulary Activities to Build Listening Comprehension in Kindergarten
Teaching vocabulary is not always something we think about in the primary grades. But as you can see, research supports teaching vocabulary instruction when students are beginning readers. Students with greater word knowledge in early elementary will have more success with reading comprehension in the older grades. We know that in order to increase vocabulary, students need to be exposed to new words. But which words are appropriate for primary learners? Let’s look at the books we read to them!
Vocabulary Words for Kindergarten
According to the National Reading Panel, long-lasting vocabulary learning occurs when students see vocabulary in authentic texts, compared to isolated vocabulary drills. So with that in mind, we updated our vocabulary portion of the Engaging Readers units to better support vocabulary instruction in the classroom. Woohoo!
Quick and Easy Vocabulary Activities for Kindergarten
Each Engaging Reader’s text includes a vocabulary study of two words. Throughout the week, students study and use the new words.
Vocabulary Through Direct Instruction
Research says that students remember words when they are able to connect the meaning of the word to the knowledge they already have. This is a type of active processing and occurs when students are exposed to words in a variety of ways. For example:
- identify examples and non-examples of the word
- create sentences that contain the new word
- create scenarios or stories in which they use the word
- produce antonyms and synonyms for the word
As you can see, we are not just looking at the word arrange in this example.
Beyond the Dictionary Vocabulary Activities
For each vocabulary word, students contextualize the word by responding to a prompt.
Having whole-group discussions also solidifies the learning of new vocabulary because students are participating in their own learning.
More Vocabulary Practice Activities
Throughout the week, students practice the vocabulary words. The activities vary from book to book!
These next three are examples from a first-grade and second grade classroom (yes, our Engaging Readers are differentiated to reach all students)
Kindergarten Vocabulary Activities
I hope these examples have given you a few ideas on how you can teach vocabulary to your own students.
All of the resources you need to start teaching vocabulary through authentic texts are available in our Engaging Readers units!
Check them out by clicking below!
Plan your year with our updated curriculum map! Click here:
Please tell me where to find the vocabulary studies?
They are inside of the Engaging Readers units that are linked here in this blog post. 🙂
Is it possible to purchase the vocabulary study worksheet…make it stick?
We do not have the vocabulary templates listed separately. They are included with specific vocabulary words in our Engaging Readers units.