In this video, speech-language pathologist Carrie Clark will show you group activities that you can use to improve vocabulary in middle-school aged children.

Activity Ideas for Vocabulary Comprehension:

1. Identify the skills of each child

  • Create or find worksheets that have many different pictures of common vocabulary words on them.  Something like a BINGO sheet would work great for this.  Start with some pages with simple words (basic school vocabulary) and then have sheets with increasingly difficult words.  You could start with basic school vocabulary and then try words from different categories (vehicles, food, furniture, etc. ~ Click Here to Download my Vocab Cards), and then move up to vocabulary words from the school curriculum.
  • Have students take turns finding the word you say on the sheets, or, give each student his own sheet and position the children so they can’t see each other.  Say “find ____” and have the student point to the word you said.  Alternatively, you can describe a word and have them find it if they are working on definitions.
  • Figure out what type of words each student needs to work on (basic school vocab, basic categories, or curriculum-based vocabulary).  Use this for the vocabulary-building activities

2. BINGO Games

  • Create BINGO sheets with the words that the child needs to work on and give each student one sheet (they can all be the same, you don’t necessarily need to switch up the position of the words for each student.  They can all win at the same time.
  • Say the word and have the students cover each one up as they hear it.  Or, give a definition and have the student figure out what word you are describing.

3. Bring in Real Objects or Demonstrations

  • If all students in your group are working on similar words, bring in real objects that represent those words or demonstrate the concept.  For example, if you are working on categories, bring in a bunch of toy vehicles and play food and have the students sort them and talk about them.  Or, if you’re doing curriculum-based vocabulary, do activities that will allow you to talk about those words.  For example, if you’re working on the water cycle, bring in props that will allow you to demonstrate condensation and evaporation (or whatever the words are).

4. Sorting Activities

  • Give each child a pile of cards and have them sort them into different categories or piles
  • Or, do this as a group.  Hold up one card and ask the children what it is and what you do with it.  Then, talk about which pile it goes into.

5. Hold Races

  • Place picture cards at the opposite end of a room.  Have two children line up and tell them each a word to find.  Then, have them race to find that word and bring it back to you.  Whoever gets back first with the correct card wins.
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