One way that I build student vocabulary in my second grade class is by using Wonderopolis.org. About twice a week after reading over the Wonder as a class we read through the "Wonder words to know and use". I help guide students in choosing a word to add to our "Wonder Words" Wall. The words are usually ones that I think they will encounter in their own reading. In addition, I try to focus on words that improve and make their writing more interesting.
After choosing a word, we go back up in the text of the Wonder and find the word. We read the sentence before and after to try and establish a meaning for the word. We will often talk about synonyms for the word, have students give examples of the word and/or use the word in a sentence. We will also talk about the root word, suffix and/or prefix if there are any.
Sharon Taberski's book, Comprehension from the Ground Up she describes a neat idea that could be tied to Wonder Words that I may try in the future. She calls it "Words Words Words". She picks words from her read alouds, writes them on sentence strip paper and adds them to a list. She encourages students to find, write and listen for the words to be used in a sentence. If they find, write or hear the word, they are instructed to mark the page or write down the sentence. Then during a share time, students will read the sentence omitting the word. The rest of the class has to figure out what word the student is omitting. What a creative idea for having students practice using words and exposing them on multiple occasions.
Below are a few of my students describing some of our Wonder Words and using them in a sentence.
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