Fun Ideas to Enrich Students' Vocabulary

Activities to increase students' writing, speaking, listening, and vocabulary

first grade class students raising hands smiling
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Are you looking for a few fun ideas that will help increase your students writing, speaking, listening and reading vocabulary? Well here are 6 motivational activities to help expand their vocabulary.

Fun With Literature

When students hear the name Junie B. Jones or Ameila Bedelia (the main characters that are in popular book series) you will probably hear a roar of cheers from your students. Junie B and Ameila are well known for the hilarious antics and situations that they get themselves into. These series books are wonderful to use for prediction and to help enrich students' vocabulary. You can have students predict what they think the main character will get into next. Another great collection that is filled with endless language opportunities is the books by Ruth Heller. This author offers a collection of rhythmic books about adjective, verbs, and nouns that are great for young students.

Vocabulary Builder

A fun and impressive way to increase and build students' vocabulary is to create a "Breakthrough Box." Tell students that each day they are going to discover or "breakthrough" a new word and learn its meaning. Each week for homework students must cut out a word from a magazine, newspaper, cereal box, ect. and paste it to an index card. Then at school, they put it into the "Breakthrough Box." At the start of each day, the teacher randomly calls upon one student to pull out a card from the box and the students' task is to discover its meaning. Each day a new word and its meaning is discovered. Once students learn the meaning of the word, they can write it down in their vocabulary book.

Inventive Terminology

This creative vocabulary activity is perfect for morning seat work. Each morning write one sentence on the board and underline one word that students may not know the meaning of. For example "The old man was wearing a gray fedora." The students would have to figure out that "fedora" meant hat. Challenge the students to read the sentence and try to figure out the meaning of the underlined word. Their task is to write the meaning and draw a correlating picture.

Character Traits

To help increase your students' descriptive vocabulary have each student create a character traits T chart for the current book they are reading. One the left side of the T chart students would list the main character's actions that are described in the story. Then on the right side, the students would list other words that describe that same action. This can be done as a class with your current read-aloud book, or independently with the student's current book that they are reading.

Picture of the Day

Each day as part of your morning routine tape a picture of anything you want to the front board. The students' task is to look at the picture on the front board and come up with 3-5 words that describe that picture. For example, place a picture of a gray furry kitten on the front board, and students would use descriptive words such as gray, furry, etc. to describe it. Once they get the hang of it, make the picture and words harder. You can even encourage students to bring in pictures or objects to hang or clip to the front board.

Word of the Day

Challenge students (with help from their parents) to choose one word and learn its meaning. Their task is to teach the rest of the class the word and meaning. Send a not home encouraging students to memorize and really learn their word and meaning so it will be easy for them to teach it to their classmates.

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Your Citation
Cox, Janelle. "Fun Ideas to Enrich Students' Vocabulary." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Cox, Janelle. (2023, April 5). Fun Ideas to Enrich Students' Vocabulary. Retrieved from Cox, Janelle. "Fun Ideas to Enrich Students' Vocabulary." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).