First Grade Vocabulary

First Graders' Acquire Vocabulary Skills

Piloted in spring of 2013, the First Grade Vocabulary Enhancement Program completed its second year in 2015-16 serving over 400 students in the district. The program curriculum was created in cooperation between OCPS District staff, Foundation staff, and an educational 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. It 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 Foundation. This program is absolutely free to all participating OCPS district schools.

Research shows there is a great disparity of vocabulary acquisition based mainly on economic circumstances. 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]

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

Improving Vocabulary - Read2Succeed program steps (used at each session):

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 vocabulary words that student will listen for and highlight in the book.

Step 5: Read the book aloud until the recommended stopping point.

Student will recognize selected vocabulary words and highlight them in the book.

Step 6: Review vocabulary words and paste the journal sheet into student’s word journal on left page. Have the student select and highlight one vocabulary word on the journal sheet.

Step 7: Have the student create a sentence using their selected vocabulary word and illustrate. Volunteer or student will write the sentence in the student’s journal in the lines on the right page. Student will illustrate the chosen vocabulary word in blank space.

Step 8: Review previous vocabulary words and praise student’s effort. Utilize vocabulary cards or student journal for review. An extra book ring is provided for vocabulary words that the student has mastered.

*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 Clifford at the Circus  
Week 5 Clifford at the Circus send book home
Week 6 The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash  
Week 7 The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash 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 The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree pre-test
Week 2 The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree send book home
Week 3 The Blind Men and the Elephant  
Week 4 The Blind Men and the Elephant send book home
Week 5 The Grouchy Ladybug  
Week 6 The Grouchy Ladybug send book home
Week 7 Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse  
Week 8 Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse send book home
Week 9 Chrysanthemum start to prepare student for program ending
Week 10 Chrysanthemum send book home
Week 11 Big Al  
Week 12 Big Al post-test and send books and materials home in tote bag


Program Kit


It includes seven books with corresponding materials. There is an option for volunteer

s and students to continue the program with a second set of six books.

Note: books are given to the students upon completion to supplement their home library. Remaining supplies will be given to the students at the end of the program.

Program Evaluation

The first and last sessions of the program include a pre/posttest. This assessment is administered by the volunteer to provide each students' measurment on vocabulary acquisition during the course of the program.

Contact Us:

Elizabeth Conrad, Read2Succeed Program Administrator
Office: 407-317-3261
Direct: 407-317-3200, ext. 200-2835

First Grade Session Video