Reading nonfiction can help students learn new vocabulary and strengthen their skills in decoding word meanings in an engaging way.

Activities to Reinforce and Extend Learning
Here are some activities that you may want to use to help students apply and become comfortable with the words they are learning.When students have finished reading a narrative, ask them to

  • identify the part of speech for each of the unknown words as used in the narrative.
  • write sentences using each of the unknown words from the narrative or a creative paragraph using all of the words from the narrative.
  • use a thesaurus to find synonyms for selected words from the narrative.
  • use a dictionary to find other forms of selected words (adjective, noun, adverb, and verb). For example: abolish, abolition, abolitionist; or persist, persistent, persistence, persistently, persistency.
  • make an index card for each word from the narrative that includes part of speech, definition, and a sentence using the word.
  • identify the clues they used to help them figure out the meanings of selected words from the narratives.
  • use a dictionary to find additional words using the prefixes from selected words from the passage.
  • use a dictionary to find out the meanings of additional prefixes and of some of the words formed from these prefixes. For example: bi-, inter-, mis-, sub-, super-, trans-, tri-.
  • try to determine the meanings of the word parts found in selected words contained in the narratives.
For a collection of reading passages and accompanying crossword puzzles, see 25 Nonfiction Passages With Vocabulary-Building Crosswords from Scholastic Professional Books.