From literacy and reading comprehension to writing and grammar proficiency, strong vocabulary skills give students huge advantages in all areas of language arts study. When students know more words, it’s easier for them to understand and convey both simple and complex thoughts and ideas.

That’s why direct vocabulary instruction is still highly regarded in the ELA curriculum. However, with so many ways to teach vocabulary, choosing the right methodology for your classroom can be a challenge! In this guide, discover which resources can help you solve some of your most common vocabulary teaching concerns.

My students need to go back to the basics.

Designed to meet the needs of struggling students, Standards-Based Vocabulary for grades 7-10 will expand students’ vocabulary while also teaching the skills necessary for building word knowledge on their own. These skills include decoding definitions using context clues, examining word roots, and identifying elements like synonyms, antonyms, homographs, and homophones.

My students are reading significantly below grade level. Could building their vocabulary help them catch up?

You’re definitely thinking on the right track! Expanding your students’ vocabulary skills will certainly give their reading abilities a boost. Vocabulary Power Plus combines direct vocabulary instruction and reading practice into one program that’s easy to add to your curriculum. This series introduces hundreds of high-impact words through lessons on word roots, context-based exercises, graphic organizers, critical reading passages, and other activities guaranteed to boost literacy and language arts skills. In fact, we’re updating Vocabulary Power Plus to include even more reading passages and comprehension questions than ever before—stay tuned for more information!

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

For an etymology approach to instruction, you’ll want to check out Growing Your Vocabulary for grades 4-6 or Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots for grades 7-12.

Growing Your Vocabulary teaches your younger students how words are formed using Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Thousands of English words are built from these parts, so students who learn them while they’re young will have a huge advantage when it comes to reading more challenging texts later on. Great illustrations help visual learners remember the words they're learning and the rules that govern their construction, and every chapter has ten exercises that give your students plenty of practice.

For older students, Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots gives everything you need to teach a complete roots-based vocabulary program. Studying Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes is a great way for students to prepare to read texts that contain high numbers of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary words. Every book in this series uses dozens of Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes to teach your students over 200 words—and give them the tools they need to decode thousands more.

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 for grades 6-12 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: for some students, vocabulary study can be a slog. But what if they could solve the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, get the details on rap legends, or discover how to survive in the desert, all while learning new words in the process? Vocabulary in Context can make it happen. As we mentioned above, this series pairs vocabulary words with informative text selections 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? Send us a message at We’re always happy to help you find resources for your teaching needs!

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