5 Simple Ways to Help Build Vocabulary During a Novel Study: Grade 4-6

Teaching vocabulary to our students can sometimes be a challenge. Each student has their own vocabulary and helping each student learn new words can be tricky because of this, particularly when teaching a class-wide novel study. Here are 5 simple ways to help all students grow their vocabulary as you progress through a class-wide novel study. 

  1. Use sticky notes. Give students 5 sticky notes and get them to put them under words that are new to them as you read. This way they can easily go back and find new words after you are done reading that portion to them. Plus, students tend to love the chance to use sticky notes.  
  2. Have students create a visual dictionary. In a visual dictionary, students write the new word, briefly define it, and draw a picture of it. You can also get them to write a couple antonyms and synonyms of the word to help them really build their vocabulary.   
  3. Pre-teach words that you know that will be new for many students. Before reading a section, pick 3-5 words that students won’t know, teach them the meanings, and then have students either walk around the room acting them out or put students in groups of 3-4 and have them create an act out the scene of the new word. 
  4. Encourage ELL students to create their own First Language to English Language dictionaries. Learning a second language can be challenging and keeping a First Language to English language dictionary for frequently used words or words that they are trying to learn is helpful. It is also a great visual for students to see how many words that they learned over the year!
  5. Create a new word wall. Students put their new words onto an index card with a definition and picture, and then have them hang it on a wall. It’s a great way for students to learn new vocabulary from one another!

There are lots of fun ways that we can encourage students to grow their vocabulary. Give one of these a try during your next novel study!

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