Graphic Organizer Worksheet & Vocabulary Activities

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Vocabulary is one of the five main components of reading instruction. Helping your child improve their vocabulary will also help them improve reading comprehension. The more words a student knows deeply and broadly, the better their understanding of both the spoken and written word.

How can you help your child build vocabulary? Make the definitions more learner-friendly. Dictionary definitions often contain words that are difficult to understand, so making the definitions child-friendly — with easy to understand words — improves their overall understanding. Below is a fun exercise to help you create your own easy to understand definitions with your child.

Use our graphic organizer for creating a kid-friendly definition. For example, the word CAT:

  • A cat is a kind of animal/pet that meows.
  • It is small.
  • It comes in different colors (tan, grey, orange, brown, black).
  • It has four legs, a tail, and fur.
  • A cat can live in homes or outside.

Definition – A cat is a small pet. It comes in different colors and has four legs, a tail and fur. Cats live in a house or outside.

Example of graphic organizer worksheet for creating definitions

  1. Use clues in the definition to help them understand the part of speech. For example, a definition of nouns should start with a, an or the. Definitions for adjectives, should start with describes.
    a. Din (noun) – a loud, unpleasant noise
    b. Frantic (adjective) – describes a person who is out of control because he or she is frightened or worried
  2. Find the vocabulary word in a book as the child reads to see the word in context.
  3. Create a “word web.” Put the vocabulary word in the middle of a page and draw lines out from the word. At the end of each line write out, category, goes with, synonym, antonym, parts, etc.
  4. Sort words or pictures of words into categories. These categories will help them store the words, and make it easier to retrieve the words.
  5. Identify antonyms and synonyms for vocabulary words so children can see how the words relate to each other.
  6. Charades – Act out the function of a noun (e.g., meow for cat, pretend to blend for blender, or suck up dirt for vacuum), and have the child guess what you are doing.
  7. Use actual objects, look at pictures, or talk about words (the more multi-sensory, the better!) and discuss what they do. For example, if the word is protruding, stick your feet out from the covers, pull up a crayon in the crayon box, and/or stick out your tongue. Practice what protruding looks like and is.
  8. Play hide and seek. Hide objects and take turns finding the objects by category, function, parts, etc.
  9. Play a guessing game of what an object does. For example:
    a. you use it to cut meat
    b. It meows
    c. It powers a remote control