Making Vocabulary Acquisition Fun

In addition to the fun of reading, it is also a mental workout. It can be hard work. It’s a never-ending process of learning new words and new ways to use old words. But that’s what makes it fun: when a new word is found that one can add to one’s vocabulary.

Everyone needs a favorite new word. Right now mine is exacerbate: worsen. Doesn’t it just sound better than worsen when you say, “ Don’t exacerbate the situation by getting your cast wet.” How about when you come across an old word used in a new way by a writer: The rain tattooed our roof. Love it. Stumbled across it by reading.

As a teacher one of the ways that I encouraged the mental aspect of acquiring new words was to host a Vocabulary Parade instead of a costume parade for Halloween. I got the directions for this idea from the book Miss Alaineus by Debra Fraiser.

Children submit a word for approval to the teacher. With approval, students get to dress to represent that word. Some of my favorite word costumes were brouhaha, dynamo, and reticule. Parents are invited; photos are taken. Marching music, and refreshments provide a perfect setting to celebrate the fun in the mental work required to make reading and writing possible.

Stay tuned for the third, exciting part of writing is fun-da-mental. “Da, da.” You will be surprised.



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