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PeachyDoodle

Vocab... do I want a curriculum or what?

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As ds8 starts to become a fluent reader, I'm realizing that he can decode a lot of words but has no idea what they mean. To some degree, that's normal, I'm sure. But ds has always seemed to struggle with learning new vocabulary. We have to reeeeally reinforce science words, for example. And he doesn't seem to be picking things up from his reading like I'd hoped.

I'm not sure if I want a formal vocabulary curriculum like Wordly Wise, or something less intense like some type of game or building a word wall somewhere in the house, or what. Any suggestions?

Ds is very visual and likes workbooks fine, but he's also a slow (read: perfectionist) writer.

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My visual guy likes Marie's Words, though he's 9, and out of the box of 1,000 picture cards, there are a few he hasn't come in contact with yet, but I was able to go through and pull out about a hundred or so that I consider him needing to know and we started with that. Basically, I have 10 at a time (on a single binder ring), and we look at them, then read the definition. Another day, we look again, and he makes up a sentence using that. Another day, I show him the picture and ask him what it means (approximately-just an adequate interpretation of the definition on the back). You could go through them as much as you want. I usually do a group of 10 for a week or two, then a new group of 10, and then after a 3rd group of 10, put them all together and go back and review. But, really, you could do whatever worked for you and him, and review as much as is needed.

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Probably depends on what method would best help vocabulary "stick" for the individual student.

Some students do great with hearing lots of read-alouds and getting a quick definition in context. No writing involved. (Both of our DSs learned a lot of vocab. this way.) 

Or perhaps combine vocabulary with grammar review with  Grammar With a Giggle (gr. 3-8) (or, this one specifically for 3rd grade) -- a short paragraph a day that adds to an overall story, where students practice proof-editing, review grammar concepts, and learn 2 new vocabulary words, all in a short, fun, 10-minute "bite". New vocabulary words tend to be remembered because of the funny connections within the overall arc story. Very little writing involved, if not requiring student to copy out the sentence correctly. (We used some of the middle school and a lot of the high school versions, and I just had DSs mark the errors and we discussed the concepts -- no re-writing of the paragraph.)

Some students are very visual and need an image as a prompt -- so something like  New Monic Books: Vocabulary Cartoons, or Scholastic Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day (gr. 2-3) or (gr. 4-6). Or previous poster's suggestion of Marie's Words. It looks like no writing with the first and third options; only fill in the blank writing involved with the Scholastic option.

Some students do better with a root word study, which gives them a tool for figuring out new words from the root word within the word. So something like English From the Roots Up (gr. 3-8) (both vol 1 & 2 clicked well here for both of our DSs), or, Red Hot Root Words (gr. 3-5), or,  Critical Thinking: Word Roots (gr. 3-4), or, Memoria Press: Roots of English (gr. 3-5). We did EFTRU orally, and I made flashcards to go with the book and to add our own words that we thought of, so no writing for DSs. The other 3 options are workbooks with varying amounts of writing -- but you could easily just do it orally.

I am personally not fond of Wordly Wise, and used it for a year with DS#1 with no effect (and he is a word-guy) other than being a time filler, BUT, there are definitely some students who do well with workbook based exercises for a week of working with a set of words. It would be tougher to do this one orally, but it would be possible.

Edited by Lori D.
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Super Duper Publications makes some visual vocab cards that we used for dd.  This is level one:

https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=CRD44&s=webber-core-curriculum-vocabulary-cards-level-one#.XXu8HShKiUk

This is level 3:  https://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=CRD58B&s=webber-core-curriculum-vocabulary-cards-level-three#.XXu8ZyhKiUl

Later on, we did Vocabulary Escapades with Garfield, which my dd quite enjoyed.

As she got older, we just used Abeka's vocabulary words, and she had to draw a picture on an index card with a short definition for every word.  That did the trick for her, too.

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My son’s vocabulary improved quite a bit when I found some high interest (for him) reading comprehension books.  The new words in context when reading something he cared about to a detailed level really did it.  He would take that particular workbook to Dh,  the science guy😉, and they would go over the lesson and correct together.  He loved science......I can’t seem to google the name but a funny drawing of Einstein was on the cover. 

Wordly Wise was not very useful.

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My older son actually had no vocabulary problems (very big strength, actually), but he needed a subject area where he could be accountable for studying and taking tests. Vocabulary was it, and as a side benefit, we found that it engaged his analytical skills, though some of it is how we implemented it. We like Sadlier Oxford Vocabulary Workshop, and we found free online tests (you can choose from a variety of formats for the test). Mostly though, engaging with the words was the important part. The curriculum just had some things I liked about it (words in context, using words in a sentence, etc.). We added things like listing related words.

Our other son mostly needs to see parts of words for spelling, and then he asks about words he doesn't know--even just doing a fill-in-the-blank activity helps it stick (our lit curriculum provides these). This is more like what he needs to get the spelling, how the words change, and to connect meaning to related words: https://www.rootedinlanguage.com/instructional-materials/the-word-study-curriculum or https://www.rootedinlanguage.com/instructional-materials/alien-bugs-word-study 

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My daughter, who is good at everything else LA, for some reason did not pick up vocabulary from reading without explicit instruction in how to do that.

I used the 1879 McGuffey readers. There are PDFs online, you can print out a few passages and try it, you need the PDF version.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/5671

At first, we read vocabulary definitions at the end of the passage, then read the whole passage, then went over each sentence with a difficult word and discussed how you could figure it out from context.  Then, she did that on her own.  Then, she read the passage first and tried to figure out the words' meaning, reading the definitions afterward. You can take a few weeks or months on each step as needed until they learn to infer vocabulary from context on their own.  The McGuffey passages cover a wide range of genres and have interesting vocabulary.

You can also do word root study, my game is a fun way to learn word roots, play the bingo game, read out definitions as they look up the words.  Explained and linked from my syllables page, instructions in how to use the syllables lessons videos, not actual syllables lessons, bingo files on syllables page.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

 

 

Edited by ElizabethB
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I came here to say what ElizabethB did about the McGuffey's - I follow the exactly the same approach with my son.  The physical books are quite inexpensive - the series is long out of copyright and has been reasonably popular for over a hundred years, so buying a used copy is likely cheaper than printing them out if you decide to go that route.

I've heard good things about Michael Clay Thompson's vocabulary series - Building Language (grades 3-4), Caesar's English I, and Caesar's English II, but I can't speak to it from experience yet.
 

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21 hours ago, jboo said:

I came here to say what ElizabethB did about the McGuffey's - I follow the exactly the same approach with my son.  The physical books are quite inexpensive - the series is long out of copyright and has been reasonably popular for over a hundred years, so buying a used copy is likely cheaper than printing them out if you decide to go that route.

I've heard good things about Michael Clay Thompson's vocabulary series - Building Language (grades 3-4), Caesar's English I, and Caesar's English II, but I can't speak to it from experience yet.
 

Yes, the sets really are inexpensive for what you get.  Here it is, there are other versions, make sure you buy a set or the book you want that is the 1879 Blue and Orange cover version.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471294284/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I own the MCT, too, and we never really liked its vocabulary much, I like their grammar and poems, but we quit using their vocabulary and just used word roots and McGuffey. But, once she learned how to learn vocabulary from context, my daughter did not need much explicit vocabulary work.  My son might, I just started him in on the McGuffey 4th reader (there is interesting vocabulary in even the 2nd and 3rd readers since they are older books) today. We will see how he does with McGuffey and word roots.

 

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