Vocabulary development through stories and children’s books

Written by: Zhivka Ilieva, e-mail: zhivka_ilieva@yahoo.com

A well visualized presentation of a story aids memorizing a great part of the vocabulary stock presented.
The activities that follow reinforce and activate the vocabulary from the story and the related lexico-semantic fields.
The development of the lexico-semantic fields provided in each episode is part of the interactive storytelling.
This presentation views the opportunities for vocabulary work of one book and one story.

I. The book Good Night Moon. 5-10-minute activities for motivating the students, for vocabulary stock building, for developing positive attitude towards books and books in English.

Age: 2nd gradeMaterials: the book, balloons, picture dictionaries;

Pictures:
sky with stars and moon;
the animals the students have studied (dog, frog, cat, rabbit, mouse) and the new one – kitten, a house, a sock, bears in chairs – 6-10

The book is divided into two parts:

  • descriptions
  • wishing ‘goodnight’

A. After reading the first part (up to Goodnight room), ask the following questions:
1. What’s this? – the great green room.
2. What’s this? – a red balloon (a real one).
Use balloons of various colours in order to revise the colours and articles a/an – orange, pink, purple, yellow, green, blue, white.
3. What’s this? – A Cow Jumping over the Moon; use other pictures to revise the animals learned and to introduce new ones:
What’s this? – A mouse jumping over the moon.

A mouse jumping over the moon.

A cat jumping over the moon.
A kitten jumping over the moon.
A dog jumping over the moon.
A frog jumping over the moon..

Use the pictures of a house etc. to form sentences of the type ‘A mouse jumping over a house’. This is a funny activity – it concerns unusual actions – the students remember the unusual expression very fast and practice the skill to substitute the slots in the formula with various nouns.

4. What’s this – these are three bears sitting in chairs (the picture from the book). Revision of numerals using pictures of bears in chairs:
one bear sitting in a chair  (additional pictures)
two bears sitting in chairs
three bears sitting in chairs
four bears sitting in chairs
five bears sitting in chairs
six bears sitting in chairs etc.

B. Next class the students participate in reading the first part of the story

1. This is the room.

  • How many clocks can you see?   (counting and also check if all the students have acquired the new vocabulary).
  • This is a book shelf – there are books, toys. What toys can you see? Can you name other toys? – developing the lexico-semantic field.
  • What do you see? Window – sky, stars, moon // curtains.
  • On the clothes line there are socks and mittens; What other clothes can we put on the clothes line? – The topic can be developed with the help of picture dictionaries or vocabulary organizer.

These comments connected to the page where the whole room is depicted reinforce the vocabulary needed and prepare the students for taking part in reading the story to the end.

2. After all the items have been revised; the second part of the book is read – wishing good night.

3. Wishing good morning – reading the book from the last page, saying ‘good morning’ to every item mentioned. This way the students learn the vocabulary stock of the story with less efforts, in a funny way, under the form of a game.

4. Think about your room. Say HELLO to it and the things in it. Write it down (use the words you already know).

5. For homework: Write ‘good morning’ to your room and the things in it.

II. Tick Tock Turkey and the Disappearing Sandwich, a story from www.storynory.com

Age: 4th grade

Materials: pictures, realia – plastic plates, knife, spoon.

1. Interactive reading with pictures. Reading becomes interactive by adding questions.

E.g.

Do you? (like sandwiches)
What is your favourite food?
We have a table. What else do we need to start making sandwiches?
table cloth, a knife, a spoon, cutting board, plates, napkins
What else do we need to make the perfect sandwich? We have:

BREAD, BUTTER, ORANGE LETTUCE, SOME MUSTARD

BLUE TOMATOES

A BIG YELLOW ONION

SOME PURPLE CHEESE

Expected answers:
cucumbers / pickles
salami
yellow cheese
cabbage and carrots.

What Tick Tock Turkey needs is pink gravy and hot chocolate sauce.
What would you put first?
E.g. butter, mustard.
And next?

2. Second reading. Fill in the table the words that describe:

THE ISLAND TICK TOCK TURKEY FUTURE DOG

Using the key words, we describe the island and its inhabitants.
Write about the island and Tick Tock Turkey. (feedback)
For homework write about Future Dog.
Arts&Crafts – make an illustration to the story; describe your illustration.

3. Next class. While listening to the story write down in two columns all the words describing the SANDWICH and all the words for FOOD

Check up: Don’t these words contradict each other?
Describe the sandwich on behalf of Future Dog and on behalf of Tick Tock Turkey.
Develop the lexico-semantic field of food.
For more visualized presentation and better understanding, we may make a picture of the island with the ocean (paste a blue napkin), the turkey statues (drawn with silver glitter gel pens), the lake and the swamp (paper application and pencils), the tree trunk, used as a table, the bread bush, the cheese tree, etc. We can use colour pencils, glitter gel pens, colour paper applications and a combination of all of them. We do not draw Future Dog, the special watch and the chocolate tree in order to give the students opportunity to show what they imagine during their Arts lesson.

References:

Brown, M. 1998, Goodnight Moon, Harper Collins Publishers, USA
Tick Tock Turkey and the Disappearing Sandwich, http://storynory.com/2007/03/04/tick-tock-turkey-and-the-disappearing-sandwich/

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