Improving Student Vocabulary | FREE Teaching Resource


Written by Alison Smith

Why is improving student vocabulary so important?

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Vocabulary development is essential for reading comprehension, writing quality, listening vocabulary and speaking vocabulary. So, acquiring new words is critical for your students’ success in all areas of life. Research has shown that students with learning difficulties are likely to struggle with reading comprehension because they do not have the oral vocab needed to understand texts.

Because teaching and learning vocabulary is so important we have created a new, vibrant, hands-on learning tool. Get ready for your head to spin! It’s brilliant and it’s FREE!


Read on to find out more…

Wheely Wonderful Words

Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States Vocabulary is the latest addition to our huge Vocabulary Collection. This hands-on teaching resource is so unique, bright and wonderful that we’ve made it FREE!

It’s curriculum-aligned for the upper years and is perfect to use when exploring the effect of using vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning.

learning new vocabulary and learning about synonyms.

As you can see, the Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States Vocabulary is a word wheel of synonyms used to describe emotional states.

How to Use Wheely Wonderful Words

It’s easy to use Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States Vocabulary. As you can see the wheel has 3 rings.


Explain to your students that the words in the:

  • centre should not be used very often. They are a guide for finding better words to use instead.
  • second ring are synonyms for the middle words. They can be used more often.
  • outer ring are especially descriptive and can be used in very specific circumstances when you want to be more precise with your descriptions.

Students can secure it in the back of their writing books and refer to it during writing tasks. It can also be used for an English group activity.

Vocabulary English Group Activity

For a super cool English group activity, create Wheely Wonderful Words spinners.


How to make Wheely Wonderful Words Spinners:

  1. Attach a split pin at the centre point of the wheel.
  2. Cut an arrow shape using coloured tape. Secure the tape arrow to a desk.
  3. Spin the wheel gently and generate a synonym.

Suggested Teaching and Learning Sequence:

  • Discussion – provide context for the word. Encourage the students to describe a time when they have felt the emotion.
  • Model writing – model how to write a simple or compound sentence including the word.
  • Guided writing – using students ideas and suggestions, construct a simple or a compound sentence using the word.
  • Independent writing – encourage students to write a simple or compound sentence independently.

Wheely Wonderful Words – Differentiation Tips

As we know, it’s important to differentiate teaching and learning expectations to meet the needs of all students. So, to help you to differentiate for less confident learners, we have included a wedge cut out.

meeting student needs by using the wedge.


This extra feature enables students to focus on one emotion at a time.

Simply select the wedge from the drop-down download menu. Next, print and cut out the wedge and secure it with a split pin.

Tips to Improve Student Vocabulary

The three critical steps to improving student vocabulary are:

  • explicit vocabulary instruction
  • repeated exposure the new word
  • sufficient opportunity to use the word in activities.

Also, try to make learning new words part of your daily classroom routine. Why not try Word of the Week?

For more information on how to use Word of the Week read my blog Word of the Week | Expanding Vocabulary in the Classroom.

To sum it up, improving student vocabulary is vital for students across all year levels and learning areas. Finding creative ways to learn new words is the key to making it fun. So download Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States Vocabulary now!

Share your tips and ideas on Instagram #teachstarter

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