Tag Archives: vocabulary

Compound Fun

I am so excited! I stumbled across the most fantastic site for learning compound words. I know you are going to LOVE it. VocabularySpellingCity teamed up with Vocabulary Fun to bring you an integrated unit on compound words. The unit includes a Compound Word Lesson Video and a Compound Word Lesson Plan (PDF). The compound word page on VocabularySpellingCity also talks about a school that hosts a Compound Word dress-up day. Sounds like lots of fun, doesn’t it? They included a picture so you get the whole idea. I think it’s an incredibly fun way for kids to learn.  They also include several hands-on activities for teaching about compound words, not to mention all the online educational games they offer on the two sites–this is a winning combination. I noticed the words begin at a first grade level and go up through high school. Oh, and did I mention that both sites are FREE!!! I must say though, VocabularySpellingCity does offer a premium membership that is worth checking out. I think it’s about $25 for a whole year. Can’t beat that.



Tags: , ,

Wildlife Tot Pack: FREE

Download a free Wildlife Tot Pack from Our Little Monkeys.

This packet contains:

  • memory game
  • shape matching activity
  • vocabulary cards
  • pre-writing pages
  • puzzles
  • animal/plant sorting page
  • Bible verse
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Giveaways/Freebies, Kids


Tags: , , , , ,

You Are Only As Big As Your Vocabulary


vo·cabu·lary (vō kabyə ler′ē)  Noun pl. Vocabularies -·lar′·ies

  1. a list of words and, often, phrases, abbreviations, inflectional forms, etc., usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined or otherwise identified, as in a dictionary or glossary
  2. all the words of a language
    1. all the words used by a particular person, socioeconomic group, profession, etc.

in full active vocabulary

  1. all the words recognized and understood, although not necessarily used, by a particular person

in full passive vocabulary

  1. an interrelated group of nonverbal symbols, signs, gestures, etc. used for communication or expression in a particular art, skill, etc.

My daughter was diagnosed with a speech delay when she was seven. Her speech delay had nothing to do with being able to talk; it had to do with understanding and communicating (receptive/expressive). There are two main forms of vocabulary, receptive and expressive (hearing and speaking). Words that are generally understood when heard or read or seen constitute a person’s receptive or passive vocabulary, also known as listening vocabulary. Expressive vocabulary is generally words whose meanings are understood well enough that a person feels comfortable using them in everyday situations. In most cases, a person’s receptive vocabulary is the larger of the two, which is exactly the case for my daughter. The types of vocabulary also include reading vocabulary, writing vocabulary, and focal vocabulary. My daughter’s weakness was in expressive language. She sometimes had problems retrieving the right words to express what she wanted or needed to say.

“Of the many compelling reasons for providing students with instruction to build vocabulary, none is more important than the contribution of vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension. Indeed, one of the most enduring findings in reading research is the extent to which students’ vocabulary knowledge relates to their reading comprehension (e.g., Anderson & Freebody, 1981; Baumann, Kame‘enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker, 1977; Davis, 1942; Whipple, 1925). Most recently, the National Reading Panel (2000) concluded that comprehension development cannot be understood without a critical examination of the role played by vocabulary knowledge. Given that students’ success in school and beyond depends in great measure upon their ability to read with comprehension, there is an urgency to providing instruction that equips students with the skills and strategies necessary for lifelong vocabulary development.” 2

Can we agree that having a solid vocabulary is paramount to reading success? What is gained from building a stronger vocabulary? For starters, an extensive vocabulary aids expression and communication. Vocabulary size is directly linked to reading comprehension, so if you want better reading comprehension, increase your vocabulary. Another benefit is that linguistic vocabulary is synonymous with thinking vocabulary. Be aware that others just might judge the student or adult learner based on his or her vocabulary. To prevent that, make sure precautions are in place to ensure a good working vocabulary.

What are a few good ways to encourage or motivate students to improve their vocabulary? Playing games is usually at the top of the list. These can be game board games the family plays together or online vocabulary games. Spelling, phonics, and vocabulary will all improve while having fun at the same time.


1 Webster’s New World College Dictionary Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland,Ohio.

2  Fran Lehr, M.A., Lehr & Associates, Champaign, Illinois; Jean Osborn, M.Ed., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Visiting Research Professor, University of California – Berkeley


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jumble, Tumble, All Scrambled Up



tr.v. un·scram·bledun·scram·blingun·scram·bles   1. To straighten out or disentangle (a jumble or tangle); resolve   2. To restore (a scrambled message) to intelligible form.

Do you like playing word games? Have you ever heard of text twist, Boggle™, Scrabble™ …? Unscramble is similar. It is a fun game all by itself, but it is also a neat way to practice spelling words and vocabulary words. Players rearrange groups of letters to form their spelling and vocabulary words. Some of you might have a bit of trouble getting your kids to practice learning spelling or vocabulary words. The suggestion here is to keep all learning fresh and fun since it is part of our everyday life. Nobody enjoys learning the dull, boring way. Not all learning is fun, but we should at least attempt to make it as interesting as possible. Playing fun, yet challenging games is a sure-fire way to chase the humdrum, boring daily drill work out of learning new spelling words.

Try these:  ycrlseac      ashncwdi     eubnslamcr

Well, how did you do? Was it hard, easy, fun, challenging? The answers are at the very bottom of this page. So how about playing a brain boosting game of unscramble today…are you up to the challenge?

scarcely   sandwich   unscramble


Tags: , , , , ,

What’s That You Say?

Lesson plans usually contain vocabulary practice. Vocabulary is so very important for kids. My daughter has a rather large vocabulary because my husband and I always used a large vocabulary around her as a little girl, and we never spoke baby talk to her. We had her tested at age four and the facilitator was amazed. When she worked with Dad in the garden, my husband was careful to explain things like compost, seedlings, transplant… to her as they had fun and planted or weeded. I always tried to use uncommon words in the kitchen and while we were out and about. As she was growing up, she usually seemed much older, as far as her conversations were concerned, than other kids her age. Another benefit to having a rich vocabulary is better story writing. Playing online vocabulary games is a fun way to get in that extra practice. So, get cracking on increasing your vocabulary today.


Tags: , ,

Needle in the Haystack

Do you have a child who needs a little extra help in school? If you answered yes, I bet you have been frustrated at times looking for the elusive “needle in a haystack.” Finding that just right program or curriculum takes time and patience. Sometimes you think you have the perfect “program” only to discover it just doesn’t mesh well with your child or your child’s needs. Perhaps you like the curriculum, but you can’t adjust the grade level within each subject. Does your child excel in one area, but need a little more help in another area? Adjusting levels within each subject is very helpful. Maybe you like the curriculum, but you wish you could see progress reports for each and every subject so you know what your child is and is not mastering. Special education needs are important, and finding that “just right” program is possible. It may take some time, but it is very possible.  One “perfect” program or curriculum usually doesn’t exist. It is most often a mixture of a few great programs.  assistive technology is readily available today.

My daughter uses Time4Learning and Teaching Textbooks as her two main core curriculum’s. They each offer just what she needs in order to learn and be successful. We also participate in a very small local co-op, that way she can also take speciality classes with other friends. We supplement as necessary and based upon her interests.

As a side note, I wanted to talk just a little about vocabulary and its impact on education. Do you think it is important to improve your vocabulary?  My daughter has a rather large vocabulary and has since she was very little. I think one of the main reasons is that her father and I were older when she was born, plus, we never talked baby talk. We chose to teach her the real names of things and expose her to as much as we could. If we were working in the garden, we talked to her about compost,  trellising vines, or maybe the ways sulphur helps in the garden. We included vocabulary lessons in her early years of homeschooling.  Back in the day, we weren’t aware of online classes, online curriculum, or online educational games. Today, there are so many free educational resources available online,  there is no excuse not include vocabulary lessons in your daily homeschool lessons.

A good vocabulary is linked to better grades and higher pay in the work force. According to Larry I. Bell, there are 12 powerful words all kids should know in order to master tests. If your child doesn’t fully understand these 12 words, they may miss a test question even if they really know the answer. Take time to watch a few of the videos or power points, make flash cards, etc… with your child. It pays off in the long run.


Tags: , , , , ,

Reading and Spelling Hold Hands

Does your child have trouble with reading skills? Maybe they need to work on spelling. Reading comprehension and spelling go hand-in-hand. It is crucial for kids to master five basic areas–phonemic awareness, phonics, reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency in order to be a successful reader. These skills all build upon each other. Check out a good reading skills pyramid to find out what your child needs to master and when. A fun way to practice reading/spelling skills is by playing neat online animal games.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Classical Schooling–Learning Latin

My daughter has reached a time in her schooling where we have to consider learning Latin. Unfortunately, it was not taught when I was in school. I am very glad that it has made a recent comeback. I believe learning Latin has many advantages. The first thing I can think of is that it gives you a better understanding of grammar-English as well as French and Spanish. You will develop and expand your vocabulary by learning Latin roots. You will acquaint yourself with mythical references in literature. You will learn words used in medicine, law, and pharmacy. Being the history lover I am, I can’t leave out the fact that it also allows you to learn about an ancient culture. It will increase your knowledge of the past and of our own history. A biggie for kids headed to college is that it will help you maximize your SAT scores. And then don’t forget, it can be fun!

More than half of all English words derive from Latin. If your child has problems with grammar, then Latin could be an answer for them. Learning Latin helps establish good study habits such as building your memory skills, concentrating on word order, and being cautious about attention to detail. In Latin, you must focus on the origins of words. According to ACE-Academy For Character Education, Latin teaches grammar far more effectively than any English curriculum. Here is an excerpt from them, “This claim astounds and confounds many homeschoolers, but you need only look at the masters of English style from the Renaissance onward and ask what they all had in common. The answer: They did not study English, a subject not even available in their grammar schools, but Latin. Lots and lots and lots of Latin. The same was true of their counterparts in other countries. Think about it this way: You can teach English grammar, and your child knows English grammar. Or you can teach Latin, and your child knows Latin…and gets English grammar as a bonus.”

One easy way to practice Latin is by playing Latin matching games. I played the online games for quite a while. It became almost addictive to me to see if I could get them all correct. It was lots of fun, too. Oops, wasn’t I supposed to have my daughter playing these games? Oh well, I think parents need to practice, or learn, as much as the kids.


Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: