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Activity: Collect Vocabulary

Activity: Collect Vocabulary

Activity: Collect Vocabulary

We’ve already provided 5 ideas toward a richer vocabulary.  The takeaway is that developing a rich vocabulary is directly correlated to the amount of attention paid to it.  In other words, a rich vocabulary is dependent upon the habit of collecting words.  So let’s get to it:  Collect Vocabulary!


Some of us are simply natural word collectors.  Others will need to develop the habit.

There are many, many ways to develop the habit of discovering the meaning of unknown words.  The key ingredient is a diet rich in literature from which to pull those great words.  And of course, the whole process will be more meaningful when it is the student who does the pulling!

  • Set up a vocabulary notebook.

    You can provide a page for every letter of the alphabet.  As a student comes across a word with which he is unfamiliar, he can write the word on the correct page along with a brief definition and the sentence in which he found the word (helpful for context).  To develop this habit, you may initially want to require a certain number of words added to the notebook each day or a certain number of words added to each page by the end of a given time frame.  You’ll find resources below that can make this activity more interesting.

  • Create a vocabulary bookmark.

    The nice thing about a bookmark is that it is handy inside the place where the words will be found.  See resources below.

  • Keep a small notebook handy.

    For the older student, a small pocket-sized notebook can store writing ideas, books to read, … and vocabulary words to look up later.

  • Make a word wall.

    Find a place in the house where new words can be written on Post-It Notes and placed on the wall.

  • The word of the day.

    Again this is more effective when the student selects his word.  The objective is to find an unfamiliar word and begin using the word correctly throughout the day in conversation and writing.

  • The dictionary game.

    Just grab a dictionary, have your child put his finger on a page, and pick the first word he is unfamiliar with.  (Online dictionaries that generate a random word of the day are fine, but using a word you already know doesn’t accomplish much!)

  • Find the word.

    One great way to understand how a word is used in context is to find the word you are working with in a variety of literature.  With so many online book sources, this is relatively easy to do.  Preselect a wide array of public domain literature at your child’s level.  When he is working with a word, he can do a search on the document and copy phrases, sentences, or paragraphs containing the word.  Kindle (or other eReaders with built-in dictionary) works very well with this!

  • Use etymology.

    Older students can record the etymology of the word.  This process helps them identify in the future the meaning of words with similar roots.

  • Writing every day.

    Your students ARE writing every day, right?  Have them include their new word in their writing.

Additional Resources

ABC Book Maker {Free}
A fun way to set up vocabulary book pages as mentioned above.

7 Places to Find Children’s Books in the Public Domain7 Places to Find Children's Books in the Public Domain
List of options to use for finding great words.

For those without an eReader, this is an interesting way to read with a view to vocabulary!  You can use one of the sites listed above, enter the URL, and have a clickable dictionary.

Vocabulary Notebooking Pages
Graphic-organizer type pages.

Word of the Day Worksheets

Vocabulary Book
Foldable from Lilliput Station.

Vocabulary Sample Notebook Packet
Another option for older students.

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