Vocabulary cards let children practice the first step to language development... spoken language. When we work with young children, we train ourselves to offer them the names of everything in their environment (for example, table, tile floor, door mat, oriental rug). Then, we transform gently from the concrete to slightly more abstract, from three-dimensions to two-dimensions, by using photos of real objects: vocabulary cards. These are a great way for pre-readers to solidify the vocabulary they know and to add new words to their growing internal dictionary. Research shows that children's vocabulary skills are related to their self-regulation skills (Vallotton & Ayoub, 2011). So, this seemingly simple work of teaching children words has broad implications for their overall development. See our blog post on spoken language or download our free lesson plan for more details.
Once they know the language, they can play sorting games. Sometimes they sort in unexpected ways (e.g., based on shape or color rather than fish from birds) but that is okay. We want them to work on organizing and classifying all of the wondrous things in our world.
Our vocabulary cards contain no written language whatsoever. This is because, if text appears on the cards, it may subtly discourage the children from using them; children will want to read the words and if they are unable to, they may see it as a failure.
|1. Give 3-period lessons||2. Play sorting games|
Cards are approx. 4.25" wide by 3.75" high. Each vocabulary card packet contains the same photos as our matching and 3-part reading card packets. It is great to have all three sets in one classroom so that the 3-year olds (using vocabulary cards), 4-year-olds (using matching cards), and 5+ year-olds (using 3-part reading cards) can all be exploring the same topic—great for classroom community building!