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Vibrant Vocabulary

Vibrant Vocabulary

Reading to Learn Design

Emma Gilmore 

Rationale: Understanding vocabulary is essential in understanding what one is reading. If one does not know what the words they are reading mean, then he or she cannot fully comprehend the meaning of the text. The best way to learn groups of words is to group them into semantic groups in order to be able to actively compare and contrast the words that are alike. To gain understand the rules, the children will locate the words in context, relate the words to one another, and generate new sentences. The purpose of this lesson is to have students learn a group of semantic words because related words are easier to learn.  Vocabulary words activate one another and allow students to compare and contrast words to see the different relationships.  

Materials: Dictionary per Student, Worksheet with Vocabulary Sentences, Worksheet with Vocabulary Word Pairs, Chart for “Word Wizard” Points, Expository Text: Over 3,000 years Old And Looking Good!


1.“Today we are going to learn new some new vocabulary words.  Why do you think it is important for us to learn new vocabulary words? We need to learn new vocabulary words so that we can get information from what we are reading. Remember that to be good readers, we have to know what the words we are reading mean, in order to get the information from what we are reading. One way for us to do that, is to learn words in groups that way, we can compare the words.  Though we do our best to learn words, sometimes when we are reading, we get to a word we do not know.  When we do this, we must use strategies to figure out the word we do not know.  What do you think we can do to figure out a word that we don’t know? Today, we are going to focus on learning the vocabulary words ambitious, beloved, cumbersome, frugal, and remarkable. Who can tell me how these words are related? All of these words can be used to describe a person.”   

 2. “First, we are going to learn how to look for our vocabulary words in a dictionary. Who knows what a dictionary is? A dictionary is a book that contains many different words with their meanings. When is a time that a dictionary may be useful? Correct! When we encounter an unfamiliar word that we aren’t sure the meaning of. Take out your dictionary from your desk.  (I will give students enough time to look at their dictionary and familiarize themselves with it). What do you notice about the dictionary? Correct! The words in the alphabet are in ABC order. What does this mean? A is before B, B is for C, etc. Our first word to look for is ambitious.  (I will have ambitious written on the board.) The man was ambitious. To begin, you will look at the beginning letter of the word, which is a in ambitious. You will find where the letter a words begin in the dictionary.  Once you find the words that begin with a, you will look at ambitious again.  What is the next letter after a?  Correct! The next letter is m! Go to your dictionary and look to the words that have am.  What is the next letter in ambitious? Right! The next letter is b so look for amb in the dictionary.  What is the next letter in ambitious? Great job!! I is the next letter so you are looking for ambitious.  What is the next letter in ambitious? Right! The next letter is t so look for ambit in the dictionary.  What is the next letter in ambitious? Right! The next letter is i so look for ambiti in the dictionary. What is the next letter in ambitious? Right! The next letter is o so look for ambitio in the dictionary. What is the next letter in ambitious? Right! The next letter is u so look for ambitiou in the dictionary. What is the last letter in the word? Right! S is the last letter so look for the whole word.  What does ambitious mean? Awesome! Ambitious means having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.  Now we have the definition for ambitious.  The next word is beloved.  (We will use the dictionary to define the rest of the vocabulary words. I will also write each vocabulary word and definition on the board.) 

3. I will then provide the students with some examples and some non-examples for each vocabulary word.  “The word ambitious means to be hardworking. A person who does not do their homework would not be ambitious. A person who works hard on homework every night is likely to be ambitious.”

4. I will then model how to use the vocabulary word in a sentence before asking the students to generate a sentence.  “Let me show you how I might use ambitious in a sentence. The ambitious student studied hard to be a doctor.  Now you try and finish this sentence: The ambitious person…..” (I will continue to do the examples, nonexamples, and finish the sentence for beloved, cumbersome, frugal, and remarkable.) 

  • Our next word is beloved. Everybody was happy to see the beloved grandmother on her birthday. A mean grandmother would not be beloved.
  • The next word is cumbersome. With a broken foot, the usually graceful ballerina was very cumbersome when she walked. An uninjured dancer would not be cumbersome.
  • The next word is frugal. Frugal is being very conscious of how you spend money. A poor person may be very frugal when shopping and a rich person may not be frugal when going on a shopping spree
  • Remarkable means being worthy of attention. Remarkable people compete in the Olympics.

 5. We will continue talking about the vocabulary words.  I will have students comment about each vocabulary word.  “Would a person who does not achieve goals be ambitious? Why or why not?” We will continue talking about the rest of the vocabulary words.

  • “If a person was disliked would they be beloved?”
  • “Would a person with a broken leg be cumbersome with a cast on?”
  • “I don’t spend a lot of my allowance on toys. Would I be frugal?”
  • “I made a one handed catch for a touchdown during the football game, what could that be called?”

6. I will have the students complete a sentence using the vocabulary words. (See below).

7. After completing the sentence sheet below, the students will read an expository text. I will pass out an article that includes at least one vocabulary word from today’s lesson.  “The article that was just passed out is called Over 3,000 years Old And Looking Good! We are going to read this story to learn more about the words that we just discussed. Has anyone ever heard of King Tutankhamen? What happened to his body after he died? Do you think it would have been preserved? Let’s read to find out!”

The students will then read silently to themselves.

8. We will them discuss the text that the students read on their own

  • What happened to King Tut’s face that caused it to have to be restored?
  • Why is King Tut so well known?
  • What is one vocabulary word that you saw while reading?
  • How was this word used in the story?
  • What is the meaning of this word that was used?

9. The students will also have the opportunity to participate in an activity called, “Word Wizard.” The students will look for ambitious, beloved, cumbersome, frugal, or remarkable outside of the classroom.  Each time the student sees the word in print they will earn one point. If the student hears it used in speech, they earn two points. If the student uses the word themselves (and it makes sense in context) they will earn three points. The points the students earn will be used to earn ranks.  Each student will be ranked on a chart in the class. The lowest level is apprentice. As students earn more points they will move up to word journeyman and eventually to word wizard.


 Vocabulary Sentence Worksheet



Directions: Fill in the blanks with the vocabulary word list.

Words: ambitious, beloved, cumbersome, frugal, remarkable


1. The backpack was  __________________ and very heavy.

2. The grandmother had lots of support when she needed help, so she is  ______________________.

3. The man is always setting goals for himself, so he is ________________________. 

4. The girl made a  _______________________ three point shot just as the buzzer went off.

5. The  __________________ mom would not buy herself new shoes.

Answers: 1. Cumbersome 2. Beloved 3. Ambitious 4. Remarkable 5. Frugal




1. Can something be graceful and cumbersome?

2. Can a person have spend a lot of money and be frugal?

3. Can a person be feared and beloved?

4. Can a person be ambitious and lazy?

5. Can a person be ordinary and remarkable?



Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words. Linus Publications. 2010.

Rice, Katie: Valuable Vocabulary 


Expository Text: http://www.dogonews.com/2007/11/5/over-3-000-years-old-and-looking-good

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