Third Grade Reading: Vocabulary

Michigan's third grade reading law focuses on building five elements of reading: phoenemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and expression. Although the names of these elements might sound complex, they are straight-forward concepts that you probably understand and practice already! ELPL is here to help support you in all five elements, from understanding what goes into them, ideas on how to practice and develop them, and special ways the library can support you and your child.

What is vocabulary?

Vocabulary is a child's knowledge of and memory for word meanings. This includes receptive vocabulary (words we understand when read or spoken to us), and expressive vocabulary (words we know well enough to use in speaking and writing).

How can we practice it?

Here are some great ways to practice vocabulary:

  • When reading with your child, look ahead to find a word that you think might be interesting or unfamiliar and talk about them. As you read the book, have your child listen for those words
  • Think up lists of synonyms (words that mean the same thing) and antonyms (words that are opposites)
  • "Collect" and interesting or unfamiliar word throughout the day and share it at dinner. Talk about what it means, how to use it, etc.
  • Play "categories": name a topic (for example, animals) and ask your child to think of all the words related to that topic that they can
  • Describe daily activities using lots of vocabulary -- for example, at the grocery store, list foods you see, or at the doctor's office name body parts

Find a full list of activities here: Read at Home Tools.

How does the library support it?

A print-rich environment like the library is a gold mine for growing your child's vocabulary! By picking out books to read at the library or to take home, you will inevitably find new and exciting words to learn and share. In every children's program offered here at ELPL, from book groups to craft and STEAM events, we encounter new words and grow our vocabularies, and storytimes are deliberately designed to grow vocabulary and model how to discover new words in books for caregivers.

Do you have book recommendations to help with vocabulary?

Find a booklist here!

Kids Books for Vocabulary

List created by EvaELPL

Children's books to help develop fluency (the knowledge of what words mean, including words we understand when we hear them and words we use in speaking and writing), one of the key elements of early literacy.

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