Wonder Words - Using Wonderopolis to Build Vocabulary

Sep 28, 2012

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Phillips Family

Vocabulary development is important in all grades.  According to Sharon Taberski (2011), "we need to have an expansive vocabulary in order to be expansive in our thinking about topics and texts" (p. 103).  Furthermore, Taberski (2011) argues, "Children must know the meaning of most of the words in a text or passage to understand it" (p. 103).

One way that I build student vocabulary in my second grade class is by using Wonderopolis.org.  About twice a week after reading over the Wonder as a class we read through the "Wonder words to know and use".  I help guide students in choosing a word to add to our "Wonder Words" Wall.  The words are usually ones that I think they will encounter in their own reading.  In addition, I try to focus on words that improve and make their writing more interesting.

 After choosing a word, we go back up in the text of the Wonder and find the word.  We read the sentence before and after to try and establish a meaning for the word.  We will often talk about synonyms for the word, have students give examples of the word and/or use the word in a sentence.  We will also talk about the root word, suffix and/or prefix if there are any.

Sharon Taberski's book, Comprehension from the Ground Up she describes a neat idea that could be tied to Wonder Words that I may try in the future.  She calls it "Words Words Words".  She picks words from her read alouds, writes them on sentence strip paper and adds them to a list.  She encourages students to find, write and listen for the words to be used in a sentence.  If they find, write or hear the word, they are instructed to mark the page or write down the sentence.  Then during a share time, students will read the sentence omitting the word.  The rest of the class has to figure out what word the student is omitting.  What a creative idea for having students practice using words and exposing them on multiple occasions.

Below are a few of my students describing some of our Wonder Words and using them in a sentence.

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