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11 of the Best Vocabulary Resources for Teaching KS1/2 English

Boost your students' word banks and vocab skills with this range of resources, games activities and ideas for primary school...

  • 11 of the Best Vocabulary Resources for Teaching KS1/2 English

1 | Vocabulary-boosting activity pack

Helping children to develop a rich vocabulary is one of the best ways we can support their education. So here, James Clements shares some practical ways to go about it, each with a linked resource sheet (seven in total) ready to download and use in your classroom.

Get this free resource pack here.

2 | Tricky grammar worksheets

Thes KS2 grammar teaching sequences have been designed to help children revisit and remember a key grammatical concept from the National Curriculum programme of study.

The sessions provide a motivating and memorable image to stimulate discussion, before introducing the grammar element. Children have time to practise using this feature, before undertaking a short writing task to apply what they have learnt in the context of creative writing.

The resource includes teacher notes and a pupil worksheet.

There are three options to download, click the links to check them out:

3 | Host a vocabulary marketplace

Imagine if words had a value and could be bought and sold by children, says award-winning teacher Adam Parkhouse.

This lesson involves a flexible vocabulary bartering activity in an imaginary marketplace that encourages and inspires children to be outrageous and courageous in their use of words.

The idea was sparked by the city of Dictionopolis which features in Norman Juster’s fantastic 1961 novel The Phantom Tollbooth, but if you haven’t shared the book as a class, the activity will still work just as well.

In the story, main character Milo is reunited with a lost love of learning and curiosity, an allegory to which any teacher can relate.

Download this full lesson plan here.

4 | Twenty-one ideas

This list from Lisa Van Gemert, AKA the Gifted Guru, features a fun selection of easy-to-implement ideas such as a Harry Potter Sorting Hat activity for categorising words, a word wheel game and a matching task using paper plates.

You can find the list here.

5 | Contractions memory game

Easily adaptable, this matching pairs game helps pupils learn and memorise contractions.

Check it out here.

6 | Pie Corbett’s Fowler’s Yard

Pie Corbett’s chilling tale of steel-skinned rats provides the perfect hook for honing storywriting techniques and grammar skills.

This original short story comes with accompanying drama ideas, comprehension activities and more.

This resource includes a four-page PDF with the full story and all accompanying lesson ideas, plus a PowerPoint file to read the story through with your class.

Download it here.

7 | Top 10 resources

This top 10 list of vocabulary resources from Reading Rockets includes a teacher’s guide on choosing words to teach, a cross-disciplinary approach and tips on building scientific vocabulary.

Check out the full list here.

8 | Ten vocabulary games

As well as basic activities like word bingo and Jeopardy, there are fun ideas like Headbanz, which is similar to the party game where you have to guess which person or thing you are by asking questions to the group.

It’s that, only students need to ask classmates if they’re a verb or noun etc, and try to figure out their word.

Click here to see which games take your fancy.

9 | Vocabulary activities

The British Council has a range of activities you can try in your classroom, from Snake Word and Lexical Threads to Poetics Introductions and Same, Opposite or Different Dictation.

Check out the full list here.

10 | Flocabulary mini games

Enhance students’ vocabulary comprehension and spice up your lesson with this printable PDF of mini games. They’re designed to require minimal preparation and have basic rules so that you can fill those remaining minutes before the bell or divide up a long lesson with a quick, energetic break.

The games can be used to review the current unit’s words and older ones, and they serve as an excellent way to check for understanding. And they can also be expanded for longer play and review, which may be especially useful in after-school and summer-school sessions.

Download and print here.

11 | Vocabulary Twister and other activities

You can also find a wide range of great vocabulary resources for all age ranges at Teacher Starter. There’s an I Spy Object Jar, Dictionary Dig activity cards, a Twister-inspired vocab game and a whole load more.

View them all here.

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