Establishing and maintaining an excitement about vocabulary in the primary classroom must begin with books. Whether delving deep into the nuances of a few words with explicit teaching, or playing with a plethora of words to stretch and create breadth, choosing tier two words from a quality text provides an essential anchor and context for learning.
@Peterhreynolds of ‘The Dot’ fame has written another glorious picture book called ‘The Word Collector.’ I highly recommend it not only as a stand alone beautiful book with wonderful illustrations but also as a hook into a whole topic about the power of words, including for PHSE.
It invites the reader to witness and be part of Jerome’s excitement for vocabulary, his growing word collection and what he can do with them. He collects words such as ‘aromatic’ and ‘torrential.’ He talks about how marvellous some words are to say and how some words are ‘perfectly suited to their meaning.’ It is an obvious beginning to a wonderful unit on poetry! Check out Peter’s twitter feed for some gorgeous ideas on displays and some word of the day resources.
I have also used it as a stimulus to encourage the children to also be word collectors themselves, giving them bookmarks to collect interesting words from within their own books. Crucially these mini word-collections are also given time to be discussed, shared and celebrated each week, and sometimes the children’s words are chosen for deeper delving into with explicit instruction where they can become the expert, giving the definition and leading the discussion. More enthusiastic word collectors have even taken it upon themselves to create wonderful scrap books of their collections, complete with definitions and their own little pictures and word scales/ word webs.
Our love of words is growing exponentially and it couldn’t be more exciting – just like Jerome at the end of the book. He realises the best thing about words is that you can share them.