Children with speech and language difficulties often struggle with learning and retaining new vocabulary. This is an area I often work on, and I’m sure I am not alone! Here are some of my favourite resources for working on this skill. They are listed in no particular order.
- . Word Aware (Spiral Bind) If you don’t know the Word Aware whole-school approach to teaching vocabulary then you should. Check out our review and in particular, the book to find out more. I have put this one first as it talks a lot about how to choose words to teach and how to support vocabulary learning. This is definitely a great place to start.
- Orchard Toys Colour Match game. Lots of the Orchard Toys games are good for early vocabulary, but I have chosen this one as it is so versatile. You can read my review here to see some of the many ways you could use this game to support vocabulary.
- Usborne books. Books in general are great for vocabulary learning, especially with younger children. I particularly like this series of books by Usborne because they have specific vocabulary items on one side of the page and the items included in an action picture on the other side of the page. This makes it easy to use the vocabulary in sentences and also to target verbs and adjectives as well as nouns.
- Speak Clearly Word Families collection. These resources are not as widely available as they used to be and the only place I have been able to find them is the whole collection of CDs here. You used to be able to buy each one individually too, which is what I did. All the ones I have are good, but the Word Families one is my favourite and the one that particularly focuses on vocabulary. I particularly love the two Link It games, where you have to find a link between any two items on the board.
- Rhodes to Language. This book has great resources for grammar, vocabulary and making links between words. I use the adjectives and nouns games very frequently to work on vocabulary.
- Google! (Other search engines are available!) One of the fantastic things about having technology always with me is that it is so easy to look up pictures on the internet to aid children’s understanding of new words that occur. I haven’t always planned to work on that word, so it is great to be able to do this. Two things to be aware of though – firstly, think about what you’re putting into an internet search bar and keep the screen away from the child until you have the image you want – just in case! Secondly, there are lots of restrictions on what you can do with the images you find – you can’t use them to make a resource that you’re going to give out to others for example. However, just to look at one image for a minute or so to explain something to a child – you should be fine!
- Context Clues pack. I recently bought this pack on the TeachersPayTeachers website and have found it really useful for working on helping children to identify the meaning of new words. They are passages which include clues to enable the child to work out the meaning of the unfamiliar words. This skill then helps them to tackle other new words that they come across.
- Mind Mapping app. Mind maps are a powerful way of teaching all the information about a new word and storing it. This mind mapping app is fun to use and very flexible. Kids just find it so much more fun than drawing it out on a piece of paper, though that is also an option, of course!
- Up, up and away vocabulary . This is another product from Teachers Pay Teachers. I bought this one quite a long time ago, but I still use it a lot. It is a simple board game but has sets of cards to work on multiple meaning words, synonyms, antonyms, categories and other vocabulary skills.
- Describe It app. This app works on description skills. I usually use the Guess It function. Here the child can opt to hear different parts of an item described – smell, function, touch, category etc. and then work out what item it is. Then we talk about which clues were the most helpful and why.
What resources do you find useful for working on vocabulary? Do check out our other posts on vocabulary too
Top Tips for teaching new vocabulary
The challenge of learning new vocabulary
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