Vocabulary question

I was hoping to get some advice/opinions about the importance of vocabulary. I have a daughter in 4th and a son in 7th. We used English from the Roots Up for the past couple years and I loved it. It has helped my kids with many things knowing the root words. My question is: should I be doing another vocabulary curriculum? I live in Texas and we aren’t required to test and I say that because I know vocabulary is important for testing purposes. However, is it important otherwise or would I be just adding busy work?


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Vocabulary is definitely important to improve reading comprehension.

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I am glad to see this topic because I have a 3rd and 1st grader and we do not use a formal Vocabulary program but I am interested in the replies on this thread. @KathiJohnson I saw your other post on this topic mentioning that you were looking for a program and I am interested in replies there too! I absolutely agree that growing a child’s vocabulary is beneficial to reading comprehension, and I think the two go hand-in-hand. @csuttermedic I’m not sure that purchasing a stand-alone vocabulary program is always needed to grow a child’s vocabulary, although every family is different and some children might really enjoy a separate program and benefit from it greatly!

Here is how we handle this and so far it is working really well for us: My kids are both strong readers and read chapter books weekly (some assigned to keep them reading great literature or to correlate to subject themes that week, and some of the chapter books are just for fun). As they read, they keep notebook paper nearby. They write down words they do not recognize, and at the end of their reading time each day they come to me with those words. We look up the words together and talk about how they were used in the context of the passage they were reading so that they understand the word, the root word, and the other possible meanings of the word (this is so that we can decipher which meaning was used in the story they were reading). Then we add the word to a vocabulary list posted on the wall of our school room right beside our school table. The list stays up through the entire semester (sometimes longer). We review it occasionally, but often them just seeing it each day is reminder enough. This way they can see the word, its spelling, and be reminded of what it means just from our time looking it up together. So far they have never forgotten a word’s definition. We also try to use the words as often as we can or point out when we have used a word from the list either in reading about another subject or just in conversation.
Here are the words on our wall right now just from these last few months:
We are getting ready to add these words: estuary, wicks, chickweed, deliberate, standards
These words come from the context of all of our subjects and from their combined grade levels. They learn from each other and together.
I find that learning vocabulary within the context of the subject matter (as it comes up in our Bible time, our science and History reading, chapter books, etc.) has been the best way to introduce new vocabulary and to make it stick.


I love what @Forchristandkids is doing with her children for vocabulary. I think I will start doing the same or similar here also!
I do believe “vocabulary” enhances their knowledge of words and their comprehension of whatever text they are reading. Often times, we might just skip over a bunch of words we don’t understand and that can certainly affect the way we interpret something being read. We might think it says something it does not say, or miss what important message it is trying to convey. It is important to pause and look up the words we are not familiar with, and children are most certainly capable of doing this once they are taught how to look them up in a dictionary but doing it together is probably even better.
I have been using Pathway Reader’s Vocabulary books. These correlate with the readers but not entirely. They can be used separately, on their own. What I like about these is that they focus on words that are most likely to be read or used in real life situations as well, and I have found them to be appropriate for their grade levels. I don’t like adding in unnecessary work to our days, but these I have found to be fast enough and we try to use the newly learned words in our everyday speech.
I don’t think necessarily that a vocabulary program needs to be used, but I think it does need implemented somehow. This is my personal opinion and I’d like to see what others have to say about it as well. Thanks for starting this topic :slight_smile:


I am interested in these responses. This is our first year HSing and my 3rd and 5th graders did Wordly Wise which I have been very happy with but I was debating how necessary it was next year.

Thank you everyone for your responses!! @Forchristandkids your suggestions are great! I love the idea of what you are doing. My kids are not avid readers (no matter how much I want them to be). I have them read during school time and they have to read for 30 mins before bed. However, since they do not enjoy reading, I don’t think they really get much out of it. I love to read and I wish I could get them to enjoy it too.

If this doesn’t work, does anyone have any suggestions on a curriculum that might work?

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How old are they? Many kids don’t enjoy reading much until the are in that 10-12 range. The two things I would suggest:

Keep reading aloud to them. This is a great way to build vocabulary, and it helps to develop a love for reading as well.

You might also like this article: Build Your Child’s Vocabulary.


My daughter is 9 and my son is 12. My son has started to show more of an interest in reading so I’m going to keep encouraging that. My daughter used to read a lot and then Christmas break came and her reading level dropped off considerably. I’m sure it had to do with me being lax on the reading at night rule. It was just hard to have them read when family was over or we were traveling. I told them the suggestion about writing down words they don’t know and to my surprise they are actually doing it. I was shocked to see them making a list.

I looked up Wordly Wise the other day and I have to say it looks interesting. Has anyone used it before?

We use it. I have been really happy with it and my kids seem to be retaining a lot.

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My daughter likes Wordly Wise but she’s always been a fan of workbooks! I like the idea of writing down words that are found in her reading but am not sure that we would do a good job keeping up with it. So I think we will continue Wordly Wise for next year and maybe try a little of using the words from her reading as well.

My son is in 3rd grade this year. Last year we did one of COAHs classic literature courses and both my son and preschooler enjoyed the books very much. Some days they would even ask for more chapters then we’re assigned. So over the summer I asked my son what kind of books he’d like to read this year and he said he’d like to see what else he likes. So after some research I decided to try the Magic Treehouse series with him. I purchased the first three books at McKays to see how he liked them. He loved them! Some days he reads a book a day. Sometimes a book a week. He is currently on #13 in the series. He also enjoyes the “Who Was” series as well. Last week he read “What is the Statue of Liberty” to go with our study of North America in the Expedition Earth curriculum COAH offers. We are really enjoying it as well. The Magic Treehouse books have also gone nicely with this curriculum as each book has a new adventure in a new place. They have not matched up, which is totally fine, as its exciting to hear my son remind me of places we’ve learned about that he’s reading about them in his book, or ask if we’re going to learn about the place in his book then proceed to tell me what he learned :slight_smile: So, long story short, maybe finding books that cover things that interest him may help spark a love of reading. Or maybe a reading incentives program would help. Maybe both together. I really like the one COAH implements but it’s expensive as that company no longer offers a homeschool package. However, Pinterest and teacherspayteachers.com have lots of ideas as well.

Love it! We do this as well :slight_smile: we don’t have a list on the wall as we have very limited space but we could do a notebook.

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