How are you today? When I taught kindergarten, I provided a word rich environment for my students. I put word labels on objects throughout the classroom, so that the students could relate the words to the objects. Of course, most students didn’t get the connection right away, but it was more and more helpful over time.
When students first come into kindergarten, most do not know letters or label words for common environmental objects. Yet, after seeing these labels every day, they pick up things. For example, after learning the letter “p”, students may realize that the label on the pencil box starts with the letter “p”. After a while, they may even be able to spell the word pencils. Even if they may not learn to spell the word pencils in their kindergarten year, they may use to go to the pencil box and look at the label to get the correct spelling for the word pencils.
It may get tedious to label every single thing. I mean, if a room has thousands of objects in it, you may not want to label everything. Also, make sure that it is obvious what the label is for. It may be confusing to use the label to use the word “box” on a container that you use for pencils, even if it is a pencil box, especially if you have a better representation of a box that isn’t as confusing. For example, if that is where the pencils are stored, the label “pencils” is a better fit. If you have an empty box hanging around, that is a better fit for the word “box”.
It is a good idea to introduce the label words early in the year. You can either have them labeled already or use the labeling as an activity and have the students help you with the labeling.
Another great tip is to use the label words as often as possible as part of your lessons. For example, if you are introducing the letter “p”, you may show the students a letter “p” and ask if anyone knows the letter. You may also ask, if anyone has noticed that letter in any of the label words. If nobody can remember seeing it, you may even want the students to take a minute or two to look around the room and then come back to share their findings. If someone says, that they saw it on the pencil box, you can say something like, “Yes. The word on the pencil box is ‘pencils’. You can see that the word pencils starts with the letter ‘p’. The letter ‘p’ makes a /p/ sound and you can hear that /p/ sound at the beginning of the word, when you say the word pencils.”
Sample words to use as label words may be: folders, pencils, desk, table, chair, crayons, door, wall, books, and paper. They are ordinary objects that are often seen in a classroom. I have included this sample list of label words with this post. Feel free to use them.
Now, it is your turn.
What other words would you like to see? How do you provide a word rich environment? What other products or topics would you like to see?
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