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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - How to Enrich a Child's Vocabulary as a Teacher:

Do you have a student who needs to enrich their vocabulary? Here are a few tips to use in your classroom:

First you can use dialogues. Dialogues give students a chance to internalize artificially learned vocabulary through usage of real language. People are more interested in talking about topics that are real to them (shipping, eating, sports, school, home life, friends) and have fun when they realize they have the words to interchange with a basic one liner (How much is that house/sweater/fish/scooter? _____?) Are you kidding!? that's so cheap/expensive/old/disgusting! Once used a few times the basic grammar, is usually remembered.

Dialogues are a great way to enrich students' vocabularies

Second - their are a few types of games that easily lend themselves to vocabulary building:

1) Shopping game or other games of this type that use nouns you would like them to learn. Use toy food/clothing/items or cards with pictures.

Shopping games can teach enrich students' vocabulary of food products

2) Fish or memory games available at Gamelish, WizKids, AEL, Creativo.

First play the games using the regular rules and then expand on them using simple phrases to truly enrich the students' lexicon. For example, if you want them to learn clothing articles use a memory game to teach them the names of each piece of clothing. Then put a stack of cards and have the first person pick up a card and asks the other: "Do you want to wear/buy boots today?" and so on. There can be many variations to this game.

3) Bingo games: You can create your very own personalized Bingo game on many sites online. Here is one site that can get you started or try this one.

Gaila has over 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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