Kindergartners love learning vocabulary and spelling when it is part of play. Here are some games we play in our classroom to encourage word study.
- I first make a laminated chart of the first twenty-one sight words (one more than the number of students in my class). I distribute one card with the same sight word printed on it to each student. I begin by reading a sight word from the chart and checking it off with a dry erase marker. The student that has that sight word stands up and shouts out the word. Then she reads another sight word from the list. I check off the word and the student that has that sight word stands up and shouts out the word. We continue until all the words have been checked off. When students have mastered these words, we move on to the next set of twenty sight words.
- During the morning message, I pick one sight word to use repeatedly throughout the day. I introduce that word as the “magic word.” When we read the morning message together, the students shout “Woo Hoo!” when the word is read. Throughout the day, I use the word repeatedly to elicit the response from the students. I also ask students at random to spell the word.
- A good way to build vocabulary when reading a story is to give a short, quick parenthetical as you read. For example, “Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother lived in a cottage (a cottage is a small house) in the woods.” When the word comes up again in the story, I ask, “What is a cottage again?” Most students usually understand its meaning by the third time.
- We have our Annual Kinder Spelling Bee during the month of April. I assign different words to different groups of children based on their reading level. This makes for three contests within the contest, but everyone feels successful. There are no actual first place winners - everyone receives an “I’m a Kinder Speller” Certificate.