*Here is another post by “The Word Lady” highlighting how teachers can meaningfully teach vocabulary to students. Today’s topic is family words. Click on Jill Negrete’s lesson plan at the bottom of this post to find out more!

As teachers of beginning readers, we have our hands full at times. We are trying to open up a new world to our students (a language based, print rich world). A child’s background knowledge plays a large role in identifying words, while reading, at this early age because they rely upon what makes sense when they read words. Sometimes students make sense as they read. Sometimes they do not.

What happens if they don’t? How can I help my students be successful? A good friend, and reading recovery teacher, taught me to carefully select books as I plan my reading lessons. Students with language issues can experience a lot of frustration as they read if the language the author uses is unusual and does not make sense to them.

The Word Lady is also teaching me to deliberately teach vocabulary. When the vocabulary component of our new reading program focussed on family words, Jill Negrete ran with it. She made the abstract come to life!

Students dressed up to illustrate the concept of parents. (The father wore a hat and the mother wore a necklace.) Their children held a ball to show that they were in fact children. When the children grew up they put on a hat or a necklace to signal that they were now adults. In the end, we had a real life family tree with grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, cousins, nieces and nephews!

Acting out a Family Tree
Lesson Plan for Family Words

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