Vocabulary for 2nd Grade

What is Vocabulary?

Parent with children at zoo.

Vocabulary refers to knowledge of the meanings of individual words being read. Vocabulary knowledge is important to a student’s ability to read and comprehend what is read. (Definition from University of Oregon)

In 2nd grade, readers should strive to learn as many new words and their meanings as possible. Additionally, second graders should be able to figure out the meaning of unknown words for their grade level, including homophones (words that sound alike but have different meanings).

What Does it Look Like?

What does it look like to talk about vocabulary?

Practice Activities

How Many Times?: Use this activity to teach a new word and then practice using the new word as many times as possible. Select a new word (e.g., trot for run). See how many times you and the child can use the word throughout the day (e.g., “Look at those deer. They are trotting through the field.). Other ideas include using elegant for beautiful, raucous for loud, melancholy for sad, immense for big, and ludicrous for funny.

Guess My Word: Give the child 3 clues. The child guesses the word you are describing. Switch roles and continue. Try using the child's vocabulary list from school, words the child is learning in various subjects (e.g., math, science, social studies), and areas of interest (e.g., sports, hobbies).

Examples and Non-Examples: Give non-examples of new vocabulary words to teach what the word does not mean.  Watch Examples and Non-Examples.

Watch and Apply: Watch a movie or television show with the child. While watching, take note of words used that the child may not know or use often. Add these words into meaningful conversations with the child (e.g., When the word pasteurized is used in an episode, point out the pasteurized milk and juice in the refrigerator).

Practice Activities (with Printables)

If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.

Build a Word: Build words with the child by adding prefixes and suffixes to root words.  Build a Word

Root-A-Word: Identify words with a common root word and determine their meaning.  Root-A-Word

Word Meanings: Build the child's understanding of shades of meaning and how each word builds to reach a stronger meaning.  Word Meanings

Four Square Vocabulary Map: Describe a word by completing a Four Square Vocabulary Map.  Four Square Vocabulary Map

Action Word Ring Sort: Select words that describe a picture card.  Action Word Ring Sort

Online Activities

Synonym Game: This game allows children to play against other players as they try to capture synonyms for the displayed word.

Homophone Matching: This game allows children to match homophones.

Word Scramble: This game uses a picture and letter clues to determine the word.

What Does This Mean?: This Classroom Connect lesson focuses on determining word meanings and identifying prefixes and base words.  Extension Activity (optional)