The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

Academic Vocabulary: Giving Students an Academic Edge


Daily Acadedemic Vocabulary“Vocabulary knowledge is one of the most reliable predictors of academic success.” (Daily Academic Vocabulary, page 4)   Knowing academic vocabulary is essential for students to understand concepts across content areas; it is also a focus of the Common Core State Standards.

This blog provides sample lessons and tips for successful vocabulary teaching from Evan-Moor’s Daily Academic Vocabulary (grades 2–6).

Teacher overview – all levels Review these pages for research on vocabulary instruction, tips for successful vocabulary teaching, weekly walk-through, and tips on meeting the needs of English language learners.

Sample unit – grade 2

Sample unit – grade 3

Sample unit – grade 4

Sample unit – grade 5

Sample unit – grade 6

Other ideas to extend vocabulary learning:

  1. Create a word wall
    • Add your academic vocabulary words for the day or week.
    • Students can brainstorm related words and add words using index cards or Post-it notes.
  2. Use graphics
    • Have students draw a picture or symbol or use graphics such as word maps to represent the word.
  3. Create a vocabulary journal
    • Students should chart the words and their definitions as well as examples of each word to help them remember the words. They can do this using drawings, symbols, stories, or sentences.
  4. Create a chant or song in small groups
  5. Play vocabulary games
    • Headband guessing game: Write words on construction-paper headbands. Students wear a headband (without seeing the word), and classmates provide clues and examples to help the student guess the word. You can also use a name tag sticker which can be placed on the student’s back.
    • Bingo: Students place bingo chips on a square after hearing the word’s definition. (Free Bingo templates are available online.)


Read the research

Daily Academic Vocabulary combines direct instruction with speaking, listening, reading, and writing activities that reflect Marzano’s strategic process for teaching vocabulary. For more information, see:


Image of Theresa WoolerTheresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer and homeschool educator, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.

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