A fun way to learn vocabulary is to review homophones, or words with multiple meanings. Starting in second grade, teachers will begin to introduce words with multiple meanings. Go through each word, such as bat or ball, and discuss all the various meanings of the word. Have students make sentences with the word, with its various meanings. While reading, have students discuss what they think the meaning of a word is based on the contextual cues. Here is a list of common words with multiple meanings that students will encounter in elementary school. There are also great activities and worksheets that you can use here!
It is not realistic to directly address all vocabulary words that students have difficulty with. Focusing on strategies, including learning the meaning of common prefixes and suffixes, is an excellent way to empower students to figure out word meaning. In therapy, we will discuss common prefixes and suffixes of the student’s grade level, or reading level, if that is more appropriate. We will talk about common words with that prefix or suffix. As homework assignments, I may have the student look for words in reading materials with the prefix and suffix that we worked on, and have them try to figure out the word meaning based on their knowledge of the prefix or suffix. In my observation, students really enjoy learning these strategies because they feel like they are solving a mini mystery and they feel empowered. Here is a the best list that I have found for prefixes and suffixes, based on grade level.
Homographs and homophones: What are the differences between these two? We learned the meaning of these words in grade school, but what do they mean again? “Homo,” as you know means the “same.” Taking that into consideration, here are the definitions for these two terms.
Homographs are words with the same spelling, but different meaning. Examples include: bear (noun)-animal; bear (verb)-to carry something
Homophones are words with the same pronunciation, but different meaning. The words may be spelled the same, as the above sample of bear, or they could be spelled differently, as in bee and be.
Students in 4th through 6th grade will learn more about homographs and homophones. By learning more about these, your child will expand his/her vocabulary through association, as well as avoid mistakes in writing. Here are some websites that will be fun and useful for your child as they learn about these:
In third and fourth grade, there will be emphasis on having children learn how to figure out the meaning of words using different methods. Synonyms and antonyms are fun for children! They are often somewhat easy for children to learn, as the ideas of same/different and opposites are introduced early in their school curriculum. Here are some fun and simple websites that your children will love working on: