From improving reading comprehension to building writing and grammar proficiency, having strong vocabulary skills gives students key advantages in all areas of language arts study. Knowing more words—and understanding the roots behind them—allows students to better understand and convey both simple and complex thoughts and ideas.

In this post, learn which Prestwick House programs can help you solve some of the most common concerns when it comes to building your students’ vocabulary.

My students have trouble retaining difficult Tier 2 or 3 vocabulary words.

It’s not enough to simply introduce new vocabulary words and expect students to memorize each one. One of the best ways to ensure word retention is to give students exposure to each word in multiple contexts and activities. Each level of the Vocabulary Power Plus series provides direct instruction on more than 200 high-impact words through critical reading passages, multiple-choice questions, writing assignments, and other activities guaranteed to make new words a permanent part of your students’ vocabulary.

My students don’t know how prefixes, suffixes, and roots can be used to learn the meaning of new words.

You’ll want to check out Growing Your Vocabulary for grades 4-6 or Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots for grades 7-12. Both of these programs show your students how thousands of words share common roots, prefixes, and suffixes derived from Latin and Greek. Once students understand what these common elements mean, they’ll be better equipped to decipher unfamiliar words at first sight.

Some of my students are reading significantly below grade level. I believe building their vocabulary will help them catch up in a hurry.

You’re definitely thinking on the right track! Expanding your students’ vocabulary skills will certainly give their reading abilities a boost. Designed to meet the needs of struggling readers, Standards-Based Vocabulary for grades 7-10 takes a skills-based approach to vocabulary study. From decoding definitions using context clues and word roots to identifying synonyms, antonyms, homographs, and homophones, the variety of exercises in the program combine reading and vocabulary concepts into blended, effective lessons.

My students can’t figure out the meaning of new vocabulary words using context clues.

Instead of providing the typical list of words and definitions like many traditional vocabulary programs, Vocabulary in Context introduces new words within nonfiction reading passages. This approach gives students the opportunity to first infer each word’s meaning based on the surrounding text. Exercises within each book, including sentence completion and reading comprehension questions, reinforce this context-based methodology.

Many of my students find vocabulary boring and disconnected from other high-interest lessons.

We get it: Vocabulary isn’t necessarily the coolest subject to study. That’s why we developed Vocabulary in Context for grades 6-12. As we mentioned above, this program presents key vocabulary words through nonfiction passages that even your most reluctant readers will love. Each book in the series—Wilderness Survival, The History of Hip-Hop, and Mysteries, Curiosities & Wonders—centers on an exciting theme that’s sure to pique your students’ interest.

What other vocabulary problems are you trying to solve? Leave a comment below, or email us at We’re always happy to help you find resources for your teaching needs!