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Three Activities for Teaching Second Grade Vocabulary

written by: Krima Olive Molina • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 9/11/2012

Turn your traditional vocabulary teaching into a lively and interactive one by making use of these activities in your vocabulary sessions.

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    The most effective and efficient way to teach vocabulary is to fire up the students' passion for reading. Instill in them a love of reading, and learning new words would just be a breeze---almost automatic---to them. For 2nd grade vocabulary, the list of words should cater to the decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills of students their level. These include the introduction of synonyms, antonymsReadingManiacs , and the use of context clues to determine meaning. For a complete list of 2nd grade vocabulary words, follow this link.

    Here are some interactive tasks you can employ in your 2nd grade vocabulary sessions:

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    Together Forever

    This game involves the mastery of compound words, which include names of workers in the community. Some of the words that you can use are: hairdresser, fireman, newscaster, lifeguard, weatherman, etc. Have pictures of these professionals projected on the smartboard to give clues to the students.

    Give each student a cardboard with one part of a compound word.Tape the cards on their back, and afterwards, ask them to spread all around the classroom. Their task? Find their missing pair without peeking what word is taped on their back! This game:

    - enhances decoding and fluency skills because students would need to ask their classmates to read the word on their back in order for them to know what other word they will be looking for.

    - allows the students the use of picture clues (the pictures of the professionals) to unlock vocabulary words.

    - encourages cooperation and interdependency in finishing their tasks.

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    Word Babies

    Post/project a word on the board. Choose a word with letters that can form new, shorter words. For instance, you can use salamander which can "produce" the words man, sand, land, ram, etc. Pair up the students, and tell them that their job is to form "baby words" from the "mother word" on the board. They have ten minutes to form as many words as they can. After the time is up, ask each pair to read aloud to the class the words that they came up with. As they read, simultaneously type their words on the smartboard and ask everyone to read the words together. Do this for each pair until all students' words have been showcased.

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    Words To the Rescue!

    This activity makes use of the students' knowledge on context clues for them to figure out the meaning of a word. Take, for example, this sentence which you can project on the board:

    I was terrified when I saw the witch! I had never seen such a scary face before.

    In order to figure out the meaning of terrified, take them on a journey to every word in the two sentences. Ask them to read the sentences aloud, and follow up comprehension by showing a picture of a witch. Then, ask them what terrified must mean. Probe into their reasons why they define terrified in the way they will do by asking them what word in the sentences projected helped hem know the meaning of terrified.

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    Creating lessons for 2nd grade vocabulary just entails the essential goal that every reading teacher must know--that is, to develop in his/her students a love of reading. Stir this passion up, and the rest of your vocabulary building lessons would just fly by easily.

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