When we see of hear words, our brains make all kinds of connections with those words, depending on our past experiences.
Vocabulary is critical to reading comprehension.
Activities for Vocabulary
Find real life items that students may not know. Items may be sorted into categories such as kitchen items or art supplies. The students can play 20 Questions to figure out what the item is.
Students can act out skits about new vocabulary words. The words could include adjectives to make it easier for students to act out. The words would be listed for all students to see to make it easier for non-acting students to figure out what the word is.
Teachers can emphasize vocabulary words during read-aloud times by picking out 3 words to focus on. At first, the teacher should just read the story as usual. Then tell the students about the new vocabulary words and either read the story again or just read the paragraph so the students can get context as to what the words mean.
When students are reading an article they can find the 10 most important words. By finding these words, the students will be able to understand the main idea of the article. The students can find these words by tallying how many times they occur in the article. They should be able to define these words by the end of the article as well.
I would use all of the activities listed above as well as having students write down words that they don’t know while they are reading. This could be a story that the whole class is reading, an individual book the student reads during a read-to-self time, or something that the teacher is reading out loud. If the text is something everyone is reading, the teacher can have a group discussion. If it is an individual book, the teacher can have a conference with the student to discuss these words.