Vocabulary for Pre and Beginning Readers
Basic vocabulary is necessary for a child as they begin to learn to read.
Children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through their everyday experiences.
While most vocabulary is learnt indirectly, direct vocabulary learning in addition to indirect vocabulary learning is useful. About 300 more words can be learnt each year as a result of direct vocabulary instruction, (Stahl & Fairbanks, 1986).
Basic vocabulary for beginning readers include: colours; prepositions; common objects and locations; pronouns; parts of everyday objects; adjectives; occupations; quantity words; materials; shapes; and patterns.
Here is a simple activity for assessing and teaching prepositions.
This activity can be done with two cups and any other single item you have on hand, e.g. a pencil. Following my sons’ lead and interest in superheroes, (and embracing the reality that we have many of them littered throughout our home), we used two cups and a Batman toy.
Placing Batman in various positions relative to the cup/s, I simply asked, “Where is Batman?”
Where there were gaps in their vocabulary, I taught the prepositions through modelling.
Teaching Vocabulary through Modelling
Vocabulary can be taught orally through modelling, particularly when a child is at the pre-reading or early stages of learning to read.
In teaching vocabulary through modelling, there are three steps:
- Model positive and negative examples of the new concept.
- Test the child on their understanding using examples of the new word.
- Integrate by presenting different examples of the new word, along with examples of other previously taught words.
We kept the lesson short and punchy. Repetition is key to building vocabulary, so we’ll have to visit this activity often; (good thing that it involves Batman).
More Activities for Preschoolers
Three to Five: Playful Preschool is stuffed to the brim with tried, tested and loved playful learning ideas for preschoolers. There are 25+ ideas for preschoolers, ten printable resources and additional links to over 50 more activities. A great resource for parents. Download your copy here.
N&M: 4 years, 4 months