First Grade Vocabulary

First Graders' Acquire Vocabulary Skills
Piloted in spring of 2013, the First Grade Vocabulary Enhancement Program completed its fifth year in 2017-18 serving 550 students in the OCPS district. The program curriculum was created in cooperation between OCPS District staff, Read2Succeed staff, and an education consultant.
The goal is to build vocabulary and background knowledge with at-risk first graders. Additionally, volunteers help students develop a curiosity about words and language while giving them the tools they need to be better readers. The program utilizes fiction and non-fiction literature along with journals and art supplies to make learning fun!
Program materials and volunteer training is provided by the Read2Succeed team and available at no cost to all participating OCPS district elementary schools.

Research shows there is a great disparity of vocabulary acquisition. Children enter school with "meaningful differences" in vocabulary knowledge. Race, ethnicity, gender and birth order do not seem to be an indicator of vocabulary knowledge but what does seem to matter is relative economic advantage.[1] Early elementary grades are a crucial time for reading development. By the end of third grade, students should make transition from learning to read to reading to learn. If reading is matered at this time, the road ahead is clear for achievement.Some students need exra support in these early years to develop and sharpen their reading skills. This is how Read2Succeed helps developing readers.

[1]Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.


Improving Vocabulary - Read2Succeed program steps:

Step 1: Connect with the student. 

Step 2: Introduce or review the rules of the program *

Step 3: Introduce or reintroduce the book you are currently working on with the student.

Step 4: Introduce pre-selected vocabulary words that student will listen for and highlight in the book.

Step 5: Read the book aloud until the recommended stopping point. Student highlights vocabulary words.

Step 6: Review this session's vocabulary words and paste the journal sheet into student’s word journal. Student selects and highlights one vocabulary word on the journal sheet.

Step 7: The student creates and writes a sentence using their selected vocabulary word. Student illustrates their sentence in their journal.

Step 8: Review previous vocabulary words and praise student’s effort. Sight word list is included to review if time allows.

* What is vocabulary? 

Vocabulary is the words of a language or the set of words that a person or group knows or uses.

Why is vocabulary important to me?

  • The more words you know, the better you can understand what you are hearing and reading.
  • Having a bigger vocabulary means you can read more of what is interesting to you.
  • Knowing more words helps you to communicate better through speaking, listening and writing.

Weekly Program Calendar

Week Book Special Instructions
Week 1 Koalas pre-test and send book home
Week 2 Biscuit send book homes
Week 3 Just A Mess send book home
Week 4 Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!  
Week 5 Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! send book home
Week 6 The Snowy Day  
Week 7 The Snowy Day send book home
Week 8 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time  
Week 9 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time  
Week 10 Henry & Mudge in the Green Time send book home
Week 11 Pierre the Penguin send email request for next set of books
Week 12 Pierre the Penguin post-test and send book home
Week 1 Abuela pre-test
Week 2 Abuela send book home
Week 3 The Blind Men and the Elephant  
Week 4 The Blind Men and the Elephant send book home
Week 5 I Know a Wee Piggy  
Week 6 I Know a Wee Piggy send book home
Week 7 The Grouchy Ladybug  
Week 8 The Grouchy Ladybug send book home
Week 9 Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse start to prepare student for program ending
Week 10 Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse send book home
Week 11 Last Stop on Market Street  
Week 12 Last Stop on Market Street post-test and send books and materials home in tote bag


Program Kit


The kit includes seven books with corresponding materials for 12 weeks. Volunteers and students to continue the program with a second set of six books for a total of 13 books for 24 weeks.

Note: Books are given to the students upon completion to build a home library. Remaining supplies are given to the student at the end of the program.

Program Evaluation

The first and last sessions of the program include a pre- and post-assessment. This assessment is administered in-person by the volunteer for progress monitoring.

Contact Us

Elizabeth Conrad, Read2Succeed Administrator
Direct: 407-317-3200, ext. 200-2835

First Grade Vocabulary Enhancement Program Video