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Tips For Building Vocabulary For Better Listening and Reading Comprehension

Welcome back to the Morning Meeting! This week's episode briefly explained the Science of Reading, its history, and my strategies for increasing comprehension. Next week we will continue this discussion into the core pillars of the Science of Reading by talking about phonemic awareness.

As early childhood educators, we recognize the importance of vocabulary when it comes to reading comprehension. The goal of reading isn't memorizing words but for learners to interpret their meanings and connect the dots appropriately. In my classroom, I increase my learners' exposure to different words by incorporating Word Charts.

Words charts like this one introduce synonyms, keep children engaged, and make our Read Aloud time even more impactful. For more information and tips on The Science of Reading head over to the podcast.

In this blog post, I am going into detail about how you can use word charts to keep children engaged and expand comprehension through vocabulary. Words charts along with stories and open discussions are valuable tools in developing our learners into life-long readers.

1. Character books a. Have your children choose a character book. In the podcast, I talk about some pre-planning activities that will make this exercise flow smoothly. Character books give us context clues and words that deal with emotions, thus creating opportunities for learners to become more empathetic towards themselves and others. If you recall from the episode on Building A Classroom Library, I discussed the importance of having diversity in your library - having books about different places, cultures, etc. can add another layer of richness to your word charts.

2. Identify words that explain emotion - a. By incorporating "turn and talk", into reading time students have an opportunity to identify words that express emotion. Dr. Phillip Shaver explained that as a child matures, so does their understanding of emotions. To help children move beyond the three basic feelings of happy, sad, mad. The word chart begins to expand on these emotions.

3. Synonyms a. Next, I introduce students to synonyms for the words that they chose. When we begin to expand our children's vocabulary, not only do we increase their vocabulary and comprehension, we are also introducing students to tertiary emotions such as cheerfulness, disappointment, and sympathy (List of Emotions). Our next step is to have children write their new words into the word chart.

Tip: The goal is to keep children within their learning level and take things slowly. For children who need additional support, I recommend books that are just below their reading level. Modeling this exercise will help students become familiar with the practice.

1. Check for understanding: a. Ensuring that students are clear on their new words and how this emotion fits into the text of their book is crucial for all students. For bilingual students, checking for understanding and providing additional examples - when necessary is especially important - as the meaning of words and phrases can vary significantly between languages.

Word charts are an interactive, fun, and easy way to incorporate vocabulary into your classroom- most importantly, they are effective! Do you have additional tips for reading comprehension that you'd like to share? Please comment below or send me an email. I'd love to chat, and don't forget to listen to this week's episode.

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