Hello again! I totally promised to do this more often, but I’m finding it so difficult to keep up with everything, so I’ll post as I go.

One of my favorite ways to work with informational books with my first graders is with a focus on vocabulary. I know that some of the words in the text will be difficult (or impossible) for them to decode as they read.

I know that in the past I have sometimes just told them what words were and what they meant, even shown them a picture.

This strategy, however, is one of my FAVORITES!

Since it’s February, we have been focusing on learning about dental health. We have this awesome set of paired texts that is all about teeth. Before reading, I want the children to already be thinking about the words, so I put some of the “tricky” words on index cards in one color, and put the definitions in another  color. The children then practice reading the content word and they try to match the word with the definition. This often times causes them to access prior knowledge, introduces the word including practice seeing and reading the word, and also alerts them to listen and pay attention to key content words in the text.

As we read, we then noticed the headings on each page, read, and moved the definitions to match the words as we discovered, in the text, what the meaning of the words was.

It is a SUPER engaging way to keep kids focused on the text and to keep them thinking as they read! They are then ready to talk and share what they learned, even using these content specific vocabulary words.

One of the kiddos in this group told me the next day that he better use his molars on his fruit snacks. 🙂

Fun way to introduce and extend understanding of informational vocabulary!


So… What standards does a lesson like this meet?

Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

Ask and answer questions to help determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases in a text.

Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.


And best of all it’s fun, engaging, and doesn’t take long to prep at all!