Archives For vocabulary

Your child, like many of my students, may be eager to read chapter books. Sadly, few beginner chapter books are phonetically controlled to allow your child to use decoding skills to sound out words.

2015 09 17 High Noon BooksLuckily, High Noon Books has come to your child’s rescue. Even my most reluctant readers feel huge success with these chapter books. As your child will, they quickly discovered that words in these books follow decoding rules. So when need be, they can easily sound out words as they read. My students love High Noon Books!

The High Noon Books collection starts at a first grade reading level. Their chapter books have themes that appeal to seven to fourteen year olds – great for older emergent readers and English-as-a-Second-Language students, too. Level one, for example focuses on one-syllable words with short vowels. Each book has six short chapters. Each chapter contains no more than four pages. 2015 09 17 High Noon Books insideLarge text and one picture per chapter provide visual interest and context clues. The last page of each book lists high frequency words, so you can pre-teach any sight words to your child before starting to read the book.2015 09 17 High Noon Books High Frequency

You can purchase High Noon Books directly from their website: High Noon Books. They offer both high-interest, phonetically-controlled fiction and nonfiction books.

Hope your child experiences the joy and success my students have over the years with these books. There is nothing better than seeing reluctant readers eager to finish their first chapter book so that they can start their next!

What was your child’s first favorite chapter book series?

Your child can learn to spell by using my game called Word Builder. Word Builder makes seeing spelling patterns fun for your child. Simply, it is a nine box checkerboard with consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) word patterns.

2014 12 08 Word Builder 1When your child plays Word Builder, her job is to build as many words as possible with the given letters. The only rule is she cannot jump over any letter to make a word. However, she can build any word by placing letters forwards, backwards, horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Through the game, your child can learn word patterns and families – such as the “an” or “am” word families. She can learn how to use specific sounds to build words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example, she can learn that she can make the word “meet” by changing the “ea” in the word “meat” to “ee”.

If your child is a younger emergent reader, limit the number of words for her to find to five. Draw three blanks for each word to emphasize the difference between beginning, middle, and ending sounds. Also, differentiate vowels from consonants letters in the checkerboard by writing the vowels in red and the consonants in black.

If your child is an older student, use this game to help teach letter pairs that have the same sound, such as “ee” and “ea”. Talk about tricks to remember homonyms such as “meet” and “meat”, for example, “The meat that you eat.” My older students love the challenge of seeing how many words they can spell in a certain timeframe. “How many real words can you build in five minutes?”

2014 12 08 Word Builder 2Kids love Word Builder because it is a puzzle. They are motivated to find or build as many words as they can.

With this game, your child can master her consonant-vowel-consonant words (cvc). The game will help your child recognize word families, and patterns of letters within words – making spelling easier.

What are fun ways your child likes to practice her spelling words?

Want a fast, fun way to expand your preschooler’s vocabulary and understanding? I found one while working with a student who is an English Language Learner. English Language Learners often have limited exposure to English vocabulary at home. Vocabulary is important to building reading skills and listening comprehension as well as increasing conversational speech.

zoo toobMy new student and I started playing what I call “prop” stories. Prop stories start with small three-dimensional toy figures, or pictures on felt or magnets, that depict animals, people or other realistic or fanciful objects. A blank background can work or you can use a specific background like a zoo theme for example. The key is to focus on your child’s specific interests.

To introduce these prop stories, I model the story first using specific sentences, which I ask my student to repeat. For example in my zoo prop story I might say, “A mother takes her son to the zoo. They see the penguins swimming in the water. They see the elephants swinging their trunks.”

As your child gets more comfortable with vocabulary and sentence structuring, he can begin to create his own stories without your prompting and labeling of words.

zoo feltProp stories are great for children as young as 18 months – 2 years and for older children too. You can find materials for your child’s prop story around your home or can purchase magnetic and felt story sets at teacher school supply stores.

Prop stories are fun. Your child will see them as play and will be motivated by the imaginative interactions with you. As your child plays with you, she expands her vocabulary and language skills as you label the words and create a better grasp on sentence structuring. Your child’s creativity grows too as your child creates and tells stories.

How do you help build your child’s vocabulary through play?