Improving Student Vocabulary | Engaging Teaching Resources

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Why is improving student vocabulary so important?

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 vocabulary they need to understand texts.

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


Read on to find out more…

Wheely Wonderful Words

The Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States VocabularyWheely Wonderful Words – Overused Adjectivesand Wheely Wonderful Words – Overused Verbs are the latest addition to our huge Vocabulary Collection.

They are curriculum-aligned for Grades 3–6 and are perfect to use when exploring the effect of using vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning.


The Wheely Wonderful Words – Emotional States Vocabulary is a word wheel of synonyms used to describe emotional states.

Wheely Wonderful Words – Overused Adjectives is a word wheel of synonyms and similar words that can be used instead of some commonly overused adjectives such as big, pretty, and nice.

And finally, Wheely Wonderful Words – Overused Verbs can be used to help your students choose the best possible verbs in their writing.

How to Use Wheely Wonderful Words

It’s easy to use the wheely wonderful resources! As you can see, each resource is a wheel with 3 rings.

Explain to your students that the words in the:

  • center should not be used very often. They are a guide for finding better words to use instead.
  • second ring are synonyms for the center 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 journals or place them in their writing folders and refer to it during writing tasks. It can also be used for vocabulary tasks in your reading centers.

Reading Center Activity – Vocabulary

For a super cool reading center activity, create one of the Wheely Wonderful Words spinners.

How to make Wheely Wonderful Words Spinners:

  1. Attach a brass brad at the center point of the wheel.
  2. Cut an arrow shape using colored tape. Secure the tape arrow to a desk.
  3. Spin the wheel gently and generate a synonym.

Then, have students complete our Word of the Day Activity Sheet for Grades 4_6 using the synonym their arrow landed on. This is a great way for students to learn the words before using them in their writing!

Suggested Teaching and Learning Sequence:

  • Discussion – provide context for the word. Encourage the students to describe a time when they have seen that word.
  • 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 differentiate for less confident learners, we have included a wedge cut out.

meeting student needs by using the wedge cut-out.

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

The wedge comes as an included feature with all the Wheely Wonderful Wheels! Simply print, cut out the wedge, and secure it with a brass brad.

Tips to Improve Student Vocabulary

The three critical steps to improving student vocabulary are:

  • explicit vocabulary instruction
  • repeated exposure to 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 having a Word of the Day or Week?

For more information on how to incorporate a Word of the Week or Day system into your classroom, 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 VocabularyWheely Wonderful Words – Overused Adjectivesand Wheely Wonderful Words – Overused Verbs now!

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